Howard 'disappointed' to be left in dark on Cummins
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