Cummins, Steven Smith back in Australia squad
Fast bowler Pat Cummins has been named in the Australia squad for the one-day matches against Ireland and England scheduled for June this year. Allrounder Steven Smith and quick Mitchell Johnson have also made a return.
Cummins had been sidelined by a bone stress injury in his foot since Australia's tour to South Africa in October-November 2011. He then missed the series against New Zealand, India and West Indies, and made a return to competitive cricket for Australia Under-19s in a quadrangular series in April. Johnson too has been out of action with an injured foot - he had done severe damage to his ligaments after being struck on the foot while batting in the Wanderers Test last November, resulting in a condition commonly referred to as 'turf toe'.
Smith, who had also last played for Australia during that tour to South Africa, is being rewarded for the fine form he showed late in the domestic season, according to national selector John Inverarity.
"He [Smith] has come into strong contention for the Australian ICC World Twenty20 squad to be named in August and the national selection panel is keen to have him in the set-up in England as the reserve batsman, noting that his legspinners would provide good variation to our attack," Inverarity said. "He [Johnson], also, is in strong contention for the ICC World Twenty20 and needs to be in the set-up and have some quality competitive cricket leading into this.
"We are also excited about the return of Pat Cummins and we are looking to ease him back into the team. He will not be expected to play in all of the eight scheduled games." Australia are scheduled to play one one-dayer against Ireland, followed by five against England, interspersed with two tour games.
The players to miss out from the squad that played the limited-overs games in the West Indies are Daniel Christian, Peter Forrest, Nathan Lyon and Peter Nevill. Mitchell Starc, who featured in the Commonwealth Bank Series against India and Sri Lanka, also missed out. However, Inverarity said, Christian remained in the mix for the World Twenty20.
"Dan Christian has shown what a useful allrounder he is, and is making some strong contributions. He has been omitted to make way for Mitchell Johnson, but remains very much in our plans for the ICC World Twenty20, and a distinct possibility for the ODIs and Twenty20s against Pakistan in August-September.
"Nathan Lyon and Peter Nevill have not been included as Xavier Doherty has been preferred as the only spinner and Matthew Wade is the only keeper. It is a great deal easier getting replacements to England than to the West Indies, and both Nathan and Peter will be on standby should they be required."