Cummins set for BBL comeback
Pat Cummins will finally make his long-awaited return to Australian domestic cricket, for Perth Scorchers against Adelaide Strikers at the WACA on Thursday, after Cricket Australia cleared the injury-prone fast bowler.
The Scorchers wanted Cummins to play against his former franchise Sydney Sixers last Friday but CA decided that he needed another grade fixture before returning to the professional ranks.
Cummins' body has been a source of consternation for CA since he made his Test debut as an 18-year old against South Africa, at the Wanderers, in 2011. He has broken down repeatedly with stress injuries to his back, feet, and ribs.
He has not played a T20 since the 2012 Champions League in South Africa where he helped the Sixers to the title. Cummins played two first-class fixtures and one 50-over match for Australia A in South Africa during August before again breaking down again with rib and back injuries.
"It's been a long time coming," Cummins said. "Hopefully on Thursday I get a run and it will be good to be back for the boys."
Cummins has played grade cricket in both Sydney and Perth this summer. He appeared as a batsman only before Christmas in Sydney, scoring a century for Penrith against Sutherland.
Since joining the Scorchers for the BBL season Cummins has represented Perth Cricket Club in the WACA first grade competition. He made 75 and bowled five overs in his first appearance. Last Saturday he returned the figures of 6-3-8-0 in another 50-over fixture.
"Playing grade games were really important for me and playing them, particularly the second one, I do feel a lot more confident going into the game," Cummins said. "The first week was a little bit scratchy and then really happy with how I went on the weekend.
"Outside of that I have been bowling in the nets every couple of days for the last five or six weeks. I feel really confident with where my body is at and I feel like it's coming out okay so hopefully I will let loose in the game."
Cummins has been working back to full pace over a carefully managed six-week period. Both Cummins and the Scorchers were keen to expedite his return but after discussions with CA they decided to stay the course given the fragility he has shown in the past.
"We mapped out a plan about six months ago and that plan had me coming back for this game," Cummins said. "So it was four, five, six weeks bowling in the nets, a couple of grade games.
"Everything was feeling good, so we asked a couple of questions, but in the end, we all decided it was best to stick to the plan."
His inclusion is a huge boost for the Scorchers who sit second on the table following their Super Over win against the Sixers.
Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Perth