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Howard 'disappointed' to be left in dark on Cummins

Daniel Brettig

November 4, 2012

Comments: 17 | Text size: A | A

Pat Cummins continued to impress in his debut Test, South Africa v Australia, 2nd Test, Johannesburg, 4th day, November 20, 2011
Pat Cummins' bowling action served him well on his Test debut © AFP
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Australia's team performance manager Pat Howard has expressed his disappointment at the Sydney Sixers Twenty20 team not passing on information about Pat Cummins' condition before he was diagnosed with a back stress fracture.

Cummins is missing a second consecutive home summer due to injury, having developed soreness across the Champions League in South Africa that was revealed to be a stress fracture on his return home to Australia. Having already lost the allrounder Shane Watson to a pre-planned decision to bring him home to prepare for the home Tests, the Sixers did not initially inform Howard of Cummins' discomfort.

Howard, who remained in touch with the Sixers general manager Stuart Clark during the tournament, said he would be meeting with the Sixers at the next available opportunity.

"We're obviously disappointed we didn't have the information as quickly as we should've," Howard told ESPNcricinfo. "But for the opportunity to sit down with Sixers management on that, there's a fair few other things going on. We know Pat's out, and we have to deal with that, that's life and you keep moving on. But we were disappointed with how that transpired."

Brett Lee meanwhile has volunteered to help Cummins rework his action after he was ruled out for the season with a stress fracture of the back. Cummins, 19, missed most of last summer with a foot injury and suffered a side strain during this year's tour of England, and his latest injury is not the first back problem he has encountered during his short career.

After scans revealed the extent of his injury, Cummins wondered whether he had fallen into bad habits with his action while playing so much short-form cricket, instead of bowling in the same manner he would when trying to swing a red ball. Lee had a number of injury troubles early in his career and he said he would be happy to pass on some advice to Cummins regarding the best way to bowl at express pace without damaging the back.

"I'm not saying in any way, shape or form that Pat needs to change his action," Lee told the Sun-Herald. "But there are some things I reckon I could help him with [such as how] to clean his action up to make it a little bit easier on his back.

"The one thing you don't want as a fast bowler is hyper-extension and counter-rotation [like] he has [and] as I did when I was at the same age ... I had that same set-up where there was a lot of twisting and turning in my action, which is where you get your pace from, but it does come at a cost."

Lee shrugged off injuries throughout his career to finish with 310 Test wickets and 380 one-day international victims, but unlike Cummins he did not make his Test debut until he was 23. Cummins was 18 when he wore the baggy green for the first - and so far, only - time against South Africa at the Wanderers last November, where he was Man of the Match for his seven wickets in Australia's win.

Cummins was especially impressive in the way he worked over the veteran Jacques Kallis, who struggled with a few short deliveries before edging to slip. The back injury means Australian fans will be denied the chance to see Cummins take on Kallis and the rest of the South Africans again this summer, and Lee said it was disappointing given what Cummins could have achieved on the Australian pitches.

"This is a real blow. He's a great fellow and I just want to see him out on the field and playing," Lee said. "I'm shattered for Pat because someone like him bowling 155kph to 160kph at the Gabba would be exciting to see. It would be great to see him match what the South Africans have. It's disappointing and frustrating to think we haven't got that now, though it's not the poor bugger's fault. I'm 100% confident he'll be back, but I would've loved to have seen him bowl to Jacques Kallis who, in my opinion, is the world's best cricketer."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by Meety on (November 5, 2012, 23:31 GMT)

@ sharidas on (November 05 2012, 15:46 PM GMT) - don't think it's overuse, he hasn't played a FC game in a year! I think mis-use is the word!

Posted by sharidas on (November 5, 2012, 15:46 GMT)

It is sad that such a young player is overused to the extent thta he has reccurring injuries. Surely, with the wealth of talent available for Australia and possibly NSW, Pat should be made to rest and regain his strength and form slowly. Otherwise we will witness a talent being wasted due to overuse.

Posted by dr.thirsty on (November 5, 2012, 5:19 GMT)

This will probably seem counter-intuitive coming from an England fan, but I truly hope the lad can overcome his injury problems and get back to his best asap. Yes, it might come back to bite me in future Ashes campaigns, but surely no-one wants to see a young lad who has worked hard, trained hard, played hard and basically sacrificed everything to achieve his dreams have it ripped away from him by injury. Don't care where they come from, cricket needs great fast bowlers and Cummins has the potential. That said, I hope he has a hard time against us!

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (November 4, 2012, 22:58 GMT)

We have enough good fast bowlers about that we don't need Cummins. Tell him to work on his action, make himself safe from injury, and then come back. We will wait.

Posted by Meety on (November 4, 2012, 20:42 GMT)

@HatsforBats on (November 04 2012, 10:46 AM GMT) - I actually originally went with Marshall & then deleted as he was short & physically not the same size as Cummins - but net effect of Roberts/Marshall/Ambrose would be the same! Scary! As for the Sixers, I think it is a teething FUBAR! Cric Oz have possibly not allowed for a franchise to prioritise it's own goals - which is probably less likely to happen at the states that have only one franchise. Hopefully it won't happen again. I think the Champ League will have less impact next year as it will be played earlier in the year, but whilst I was happy they pulled Watto - the reality is, if Tests are the Prime priority of Cric Oz - as you basically said ALL test players with a central contract should of been home playing Shield. As for Cummins, I think technically he would of been playing Future League as his FC claims weren't as strong as Hazlewood, Copeland, Bollinger or Starc!

Posted by Beertjie on (November 4, 2012, 12:30 GMT)

Great to see offer of help from someone who's actually been there and dome that. Best of luck Patto!

Posted by HatsforBats on (November 4, 2012, 10:46 GMT)

@Meety, I was thinking Roberts, but take your pick really! As for the issue raised by sifter123; if it isn't the case already, all players with a CA contract should be held to the wishes of CA rather than their individual state or franchise. This current situation it's ridiculous. If CA are serious about test cricket being the primary form then Watson should not have played several months of T20 before getting just ONE shield match before the most important series we've played in years. And Cummins would be playing grade or shield cricket.

Posted by trex1981 on (November 4, 2012, 9:42 GMT)

his bowling action is terrible really

Posted by Meety on (November 4, 2012, 8:18 GMT)

@sifter132 on (November 04 2012, 06:09 AM GMT) - "...Is it their job to report to Cricket Australia?" - if it's not - it should be! I don't think deWinter was still in the country at the time of the niggle - not 100% sure. @HatsforBats on (November 04 2012, 05:02 AM GMT) - yeah, Stuey Clark at Tait pace in Cummins frame, would be? Dunno Ambrose?

Posted by sifter132 on (November 4, 2012, 6:09 GMT)

I'd like to know why it's the Sixers fault that Cummins injury wasn't known? Is it their job to report to Cricket Australia? What exactly was Ali de Winter doing over in SA if he wasn't aware of the condition that each of the bowlers were in? Pat Cummins himself should also bear plenty of responsibilty too. He should have told de Winter if he was worried about the niggles.

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Daniel BrettigClose
Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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