AUSTRALIA’S coach Mickey Arthur is adamant that broken teenage quick Patrick Cummins will continue to be used in all three international formats, warning that it was anticipated he could battle with injury for the next two years.
In a worrying sign ahead of the Ashes series here next year, Arthur indicated that he expected the electric Cummins to be vulnerable to breaking down for the forseeable future. It was announced that the 19-year-old New South Wales fast bowler was being sent home about an hour before the start of Australia’s second one-day international against England at the Oval.
Cummins was replaced by Mitchell Johnson, whose own return to international cricket after more than eight months was blighted by an early spate of over-stepping the mark in the host’s six-wicket win.
England took a 2-0 series lead ahead of tomorrow’s third game at Edgbaston and with Michael Clarke’s side lacking real firepower in attack, James Pattinson is expected to come into contention.
Losing Cummins for the rest of the campaign was a significant blow, not only for the series, which England is thoroughly on top of, but in the context of what he could have learnt in these conditions in the lead-up to the Ashes.
The express bowler was making his comeback from a heel injury, having not played at international level since his match-winning performance on Test debut in Johannesburg last November, but picked up a medium-grade side strain in the series opener at Lord’s last Friday.
While Cummins insisted via Twitter that the latest problem was only minor – it is hoped he can return for Australia’s limited-overs contest against Pakistan in Dubai next month – there remain questions about how best to manage him.
But Arthur is insistent that Cummins will be considered in all three formats – Tests, ODIs and Twenty20 – for Australia and he is a priority for the Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka in September.
”We forget he is only 19. He is still growing, his body is still growing,” Arthur said. ”It’s disappointing him coming back and then picking up another injury but we’re going to have to live with that for another couple of years until he gets stronger, until his body is used to the workloads. We’ve just got to keep giving him the quality opportunities because he is going to be very, very good. I definitely see him playing all three forms.
”We’ve just got to find out what works for him. We’ve got to expose him to conditions around the world. It’s really important that he gets exposed to English conditions. We’ve got a pretty important tour here next year so it’s really important that he has a look at these conditions. Hopefully he’ll be ready for the Twenty20 championship, which will expose him to bowling in the subcontinent a little bit. We know he’s proficient in our own conditions.
”It’s just about giving him experience all around the world, but we’ve got to live with the fact that he is going to break down. He is only 19.”
Aside from the Test in South Africa in which he starred, Cummins has played only three first-class games. He broke down with a back injury following a marathon bowling stint in the 2010-11 Sheffield Shield final.
Of Johnson, who finished with 0-43 from seven overs after conceding 20 runs in a disastrous first two overs marred by no-balls, Arthur said patience was required. ”We just have to realise that it is his first time back,” he said.
”Hopefully Mitch will just get better and better. He’s still a world-class performer.”
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