Injury hits Cummins' Ashes hopes
Fast bowler Pat Cummins is set to miss the rest of Australia’s domestic season with a lower back injury, all but ending his hopes of playing in next English summer’s Ashes.
The 19-year-old, regarded as one of Australia’s most exciting bowling prospects following an impressive Test debut in South Africa last year, has not played first-class cricket in nearly 12 months and is set for further significant time on the sidelines after scans revealed he has a bone stress injury in the lower back.
The likelihood that Cummins will miss at least four months rules him not only out of the Australian summer but also out of the four-Test series with India early next year, which he would realistically need to play in to be considered for the Ashes tour.
Australia team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris explained the early stage stress fracture had to be dealt with carefully to ensure Cummins, who played throughout Sydney Sixers’ triumphant Champions League T20 campaign last month, returns to full fitness.
Kountouris said: "Because of his age and past history we decided to investigate the source of the pain and unfortunately he has an early stage stress fracture of his spine, confirmed by scans today.
"Pat had a spine bone stress injury a few years ago but the current injury is new and in an entirely different part of the spine."
"We expect he will recover fully from this injury and will be closely monitored to determine his return to the playing field - but expect he will miss most of the 2012-13 domestic season."
Meanwhile, Australia could be without Ricky Ponting for the first Test versus South Africa after the former skipper was forced to pull out of a Sheffield Shield game for Tasmania with hamstring soreness.
The 37-year-old was dismissed for five on the first day of the match against South Australia at the Bellerive Oval and consulted Australia’s team management after feeling tightness in his hamstring.
Cricket Australia released a statement saying Ponting would be rested to give him every chance to be fit for the opening Test against the Proteas in Brisbane, which starts next Friday.
"This is a precautionary move to ensure Ricky has the best possible preparation for the first Test against South Africa in Brisbane next week," team manager Pat Howard said.
"We've opted to withdraw Ricky from the game. If this wasn't a week out from the first Test then Ricky would continue with the match, but we don't want to take that risk. We expect Ricky to be fit for the first Vodafone Test against South Africa."