Fast bowler Pat Cummins could miss Australia’s upcoming series with Pakistan due to a back injury.Australian cricket’s injury clouds are starting to clear, but Pat Cummins remains an unlikely starter in the side’s first Test series since their scandal-plagued tour of South Africa.
Injured quicks Cummins (back), Josh Hazlewood (back) and Mitchell Starc (leg) have arrived in Brisbane for a week of testing at Cricket Australia’s elite training facility.
CA is set to provide an update on the star trio later this week following the results of more scans. They haven’t played since the 3-1 series loss in South Africa that was overshadowed by the ball-tampering furore.
Starc resumed bowling last month and, barring any setbacks, will spearhead the attack in the UAE.
Cummins, understood to be a clear third in the bowlers’ race to prove their fitness, and Hazlewood may have to wait until the Australian summer to resume their international careers.
Australia’s two-Test series against Pakistan, who will be coached by Mickey Arthur, isn’t expected to start until early October.
However, the nature of fast-bowling workloads means that Cummins and Hazlewood must start bowling urgently if they’re to be any chance of building up a base that will allow them to play against Pakistan.
If the pacemen aren’t given the green light this week then it is likely they will refocus on being fully fit for the home summer, which starts with an ODI against South Africa on November 4.
Trevor Hohns’ panel will be desperate to get Cummins and Hazlewood on the park against Pakistan, but also well aware of their importance against world No.1 India during this summer’s four-Test series.
Hohns and coach Justin Langer aren’t expected to settle on the Test squad until an Australia A tour of India ends in a month’s time.
The suspensions of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft have been compounded by a stack of injuries in recent months.
The Australia A series, which starts with a one-dayer late next week, will help settle a handful of selection debates.
The Australia A squad, including incumbent Test opener Matthew Renshaw, will train this week in Brisbane before flying out to India.
Renshaw, whose productive county stint ended prematurely because of a broken finger, is now back in the nets.
Shaun Marsh (shoulder) and Mitch Marsh (ankle) are also tracking well in their respective recoveries.
Mitch Marsh, who leads the race to be the Test side’s new vice-captain following Warner’s indiscretion, is set to captain Australia A during the first-class section of their tour of India.