Australia in England 2012

More pain before gain for Cummins

Daniel Brettig

July 2, 2012

Comments: 51 | Text size: A | A

Pat Cummings sent down his first international deliveries in England, England v Australia, 1st ODI, Lord's, June 29, 2012
Pat Cummins workload is being managed to give him experience all around the world © AFP
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Back-to-back Ashes series in 2013 may arrive too soon for Pat Cummins' young body to cope with. Australia's coach Mickey Arthur has forecast another two years of injuries and brief international appearances for Cummins until the 19-year-old's body matures to deal with the demands of fast bowling.

Cummins returned to international duty against Ireland for the first time since his Test debut last November, but suffered a side strain against England at Lord's and is now on his way home to recover. His performances so far when fit have been enough to suggest that Cummins will be a fast bowler of the highest quality, but Arthur said Cricket Australia and the game's followers would have to be patient in waiting for his body to be up to the rigours of the task.

"We forget he's only 19, he's still growing," Arthur said. "It's disappointing him coming back and then picking up another injury but we're just going to have to live with that for another couple of years until he gets stronger and his body is used to the workloads. We've just got to keep giving him the opportunities because he's going to be very, very good. I definitely see him playing all three forms."

Australia has deemed Cummins so important to the national side's future that the team performance manager Pat Howard has drawn up a three-year plan for his management and development from his teenage beginnings into adulthood. Arthur said the plan included selective exposure to conditions around the world, from this year's brief England visit to the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka later in the year and potentially the Test tour of India in 2013.

"We've just got to find out what works for him and expose him to conditions around the world," Arthur said. "We've got an important tour here next year so it's really important he has a look at English conditions. Hopefully he'll be ready for the World T20, we can expose him to bowling in the subcontinent a little bit and we know he's proficient in our conditions. But we've got to live with the fact he is going to break down, he is 19."

The example of Brett Lee is relevant to Cummins' case. Lee made his first class debut while still a teenager in the 1994-95 season but a series of injuries and adjustments to his bowling action meant he was a far more hardened bowler by the time he earned his first Test cap against India in 1999. Lee has previously stated that young bowlers have to experience pain and injury over time to understand their limits, rather than being nursed through by medical and fitness staff.

"Most importantly, you don't want guys at 17 or 18; the first time they feel a niggle, they go to the physio and say 'my calf's hurting me' and they have three weeks off," Lee said last year. "They don't know where the line is."

Arthur said Australia's management of fast bowlers was becoming more individualised all the time, highlighting the individual player plans brought in under Howard from the New Zealand rugby team.

"I don't think there's a blanket rule, everyone's different," Arthur said. "A lot of guys bowl better by bowling all year round but you've still got to monitor their workloads. Sometimes when guys rest and then spark then that's when they go into a major danger area so it's a conundrum and I think everybody is different.

"That's why we've got these individual player plans for our guys now, we're trying to work out what's best for every guy to make sure they're ready to perform."

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

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Posted by Meety on (July 5, 2012, 12:12 GMT)

@hyclass - didn't Gibbs say that about Lyon? I'll have a look later.

Posted by hyclass on (July 5, 2012, 11:08 GMT)

@Meety...I wonder how WA's Coulter-Nile feels.Even when then WA coach,Arthur,was pushing Marsh and Cummins in his bid to make the Australian Coaching position his,there was no mention of Coulter-Nile,who was busy bowling the house down.The record seems to indicate Arthur's acumen is lack but his PR skills aren't.

Posted by hyclass on (July 5, 2012, 10:59 GMT)

@Meety...in an article on this site on Cummins,titled,'Cummins should work on his variety-Gibbs-24-9-11,I blogged that I I believe he has a mixed action that will make him prone to injury.There are vast differences between the physiques of these players.Hadlee was all about rhythm and perfect mechanics and few have had smoother or more exact actions-recollect his arm coming over the umpires hat at delivery point.Dev's story is fascinating and involves long and arduous early morning physical training with significant stretching,strengthening and fitness components with his coach when younger,that fully prepared his body for the rigours that were to follow.Cummins is far too young and has bowled far too few overs to have been injured as often as he has.It does not auger well for his longevity.The most comparable,McDermott,was taken on the '85 tour simply because there was no-one else.That Ashes attack had Lawson,Thompson,Holland,Gilbert and O'Donnell.The rest were on the SA Rebel Tour.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 4, 2012, 20:34 GMT)

@Vinay Bhonslay on (July 03 2012, 11:45 AM GMT) Vivid imagination there. If you want the truth then look up our record and you'll see that it's by and large 2 series at home in the English summer and then 2 series away in the English winter. We don't have all round good weather to play cricket in the winter (this year we don't get much the weather in the summer either). We were thrashed in UAE and humiliated is the right word. As for drawing 1-1 in SL , it wasn't good but 1-1 isn't a humiliation is it? Also quite amusing that you say "SA is a much better allround team capable of winning anywhere" because 1 - It suggests they play many away series (maybe look at their home/away played ratio) and 2 - Capable isn't the same as doing it Please publish - nothing offensive or untrue

Posted by Meety on (July 4, 2012, 11:21 GMT)

@hyclass - I was considering for a while there that maybe his action needs remidial work, however I thought about the likes of Kapil Dev & Richard Hadlee, who had long careers with side on actions & think hopefully it is an age issue!

Posted by hyclass on (July 4, 2012, 10:44 GMT)

As a footnote,Cummins has bowled 1971 balls at 1st class level or above,including List A and 20/20 formats.That's equivalent to 328 and a half overs.Divide that by his 3 injuries since the Shield Final and we get an injury every 109 and a half overs or little more than two and a half Tests built on an average of 20 overs an innings.Those numbers encourage the view that there is a fundamental flaw,either in the action itself,the age of the participant,the physio and training programmes or all three.One hopes in future that when such compelling evidence is so freely available,that those tasked with its enactment do so with greater intelligence and regard for the participants well being.

Posted by hyclass on (July 4, 2012, 10:30 GMT)

@rosbif...well observed.@RJHB...only the capacity to observe everything as it is, motivates the road to solution.Each fast bowlers case should be observed with a view to their own specific cause and effect. There isnt time or space available to review the last decade of fast bowling to establish whether there is in fact any comparison to be answered.When the only information available tells us that a 17 tear old kid with a high stress action and only three 4 day games to his name who has just recovered from a serious injury, is then being asked to play a 5 day game,is it too much to expect that further injury by either re-straining or protecting the original one,is at least highly probable? After a second injury and further lay off,regardless of the durations of the match,would it then be judicious to allow time to elapse and evidence to accumulate of durability to encourage a more appropriate moment to include him.His injuries were entirely foreseeable & oppose available information.

Posted by Hammond on (July 4, 2012, 6:56 GMT)

@RJHB- Harold Larwood? But then he prepared for cricket by pulling a small coal train up and down a mine for 12 hours a day. Bowling fast was an easy task for someone as strong as him.

Posted by RJHB on (July 4, 2012, 2:32 GMT)

Pity, but how many kids succeed playing a man's game?! @Aussasinator, good thing you're well known for having your tongue firmly in your cheek with your bizarre comments, cos thats up there with your dumbest! Can anyone name just ONE fast bowler who hasn't had any injuries, at all, especially early in their career? Of course Cummins will be back but it could be another 5 years before he's consistently terrorising weak India and a by then over the hill England! At 24 he'll still have a long career

Posted by   on (July 3, 2012, 22:22 GMT)

Talented lad but what's the use if he breaks down after every series. Missed the whole series against India and now breaks down after just 1 ODI. Same is the case with Pattinson and both are still very very young. Australian Management have to look into the fitness of these guys,otherwise these talentes will go waste. Probably,they need to consult none other than Lee who's a super athlete who runs in day in,day out and is still super fit at the age of 35. RESPECT for LEE.

Posted by whatawicket on (July 3, 2012, 17:50 GMT)

my brother in law years ago spoke to the man united trainer who lived close by. his argument then was from when he started with footballers they had bulk to go with the fittness were todays cricketers are athletes with no protection to the places which are needed. when freddy trueman used to say ( i don't know whats happening out there) and would bowl a 1000 overs a day to ian botham saying similar having bowled 700 over. todays england bowlers who i guess bowl about 300 overs. to each his own

Posted by JG2704 on (July 3, 2012, 16:13 GMT)

@Charlie101 on (July 02 2012, 17:06 PM GMT) - You mean in tests ? If so I agree

Posted by JG2704 on (July 3, 2012, 16:11 GMT)

@EnglishCricket on (July 02 2012, 17:20 PM GMT) Please tell me that you mean "Funny" as in strange rather than "Funny" as in laughing

Posted by RagTagTeam on (July 3, 2012, 15:30 GMT)

I think people who have never trained at an elite level can't fathom what it really means to be an athlete (which bowlers absolutely are). You're always right on the edge of injury. It takes years to condition your body and learn when you're pushing too hard and when you should be training like crazy. Obviously, there's a genetic factor as well. Good luck to Cummins, it's a tough road and he will pick up a lot more injuries over the next 2 years - it is inevitable with someone who wants to be "the best".

Posted by Yevghenny on (July 3, 2012, 14:58 GMT)

Do you think it's the pitches in Australia, pretty hard - conducive to inuring yourself, especially if you're facing the prospect of 30-40 overs every match? How often have Aussies had genuine quicks? Lee is the only one I can think of that has had a good length career at the top level, but I admit I am not too clued up on aussie cricketing history

Posted by RandyOZ on (July 3, 2012, 13:36 GMT)

@Hammond - for once I agree with you, well put.

Posted by Aussasinator on (July 3, 2012, 13:17 GMT)

This obsession to bowl fast is killing all Aussie quicks. They are not capable of beyond certain speed levels but keep bowling there to gain their places. I dont see Pat Cummins coming back. he's finished. I said this before and its turning true. Next confirmation of persisting injuries and below par bolwing is Pattinson. he's already slowed down but could break down for good if he attempts 145kph.

Posted by jb633 on (July 3, 2012, 13:02 GMT)

The curse of a quality youngester. Having such potential will have meant that every captain of any side he has been in will want him to bowl as much as possible. The strain this puts on growing bones has come to surface with all these injuries. Unlike some of my compatriots I hope to see him in an Aus shirt again. The game needs some quality bowlers to scare India hhah

Posted by   on (July 3, 2012, 12:57 GMT)

Completely agree with brett lee here..young fast bowlers have to go through pain and injuries to understand their limits. It will make them better bowlers.

Posted by   on (July 3, 2012, 12:25 GMT)

@Hammond I don't know if I am reading it wrong but it seemed to me that FFL was agreeing with you regarding EnglishCricket's gesture which, if intended, was pretty poor. @Charlie101, are England really reluctant to play 5 specialist bowlers, didn't Broad, Bresnan, Finn, Swann, Dernbach in the last ODI and Anderson instead of Dernbach in the previous ones? I can't comment on Cummins specifically but could it just be that some sportsman or more susceptible to injuries than others #MichaelOwen #Darren Anderton?

Posted by JG2704 on (July 3, 2012, 12:22 GMT)

Difficult one this. Botham was saying that bowling more in matches keeps you fitter etc but there obviously comes a time when a bowler can be overdoing it and even if he doesn't suffer physical injury can suffer burnout. Also , surely we're all made differently and what might be the right thing for one person might be wrong for another so I guess this is where fitness coaches come in to assess what is best for the individual played. Best of luck to him. He came across as a pleasant,enthusiastic young man on Sky recently.

Posted by 200ondebut on (July 3, 2012, 11:18 GMT)

I watched him at Lords and he ddn't seem that fast to me - Finn was a lot sharper. I think the problem, as is the case with most Aussie bowlers, is with his backbone.

Posted by   on (July 3, 2012, 10:59 GMT)

really feel bad for he his a talented young fast bowler

Posted by Guernica on (July 3, 2012, 10:49 GMT)

I do remember the Australian press being especially unsympathetic about our numerous 'crocked' players on tours during the bad old days. None more so than when Simon Jones collapsed with a career threatening injury on the first morning of the first test 2002. However, that doesn't mean we English fans have to adopt the same attitude now that we're on top. Never good to see a promising young fast bowler injured so much.

Posted by ed.dixon on (July 3, 2012, 10:01 GMT)

Feeling serious temptation to throw bread rolls at Mickey Arthur and shout 'I told you so' repeatedly, having posted this the day before his injury...

Posted by: Ed at June 28, 2012 1:30 PM

He's young, he's fast, he's obviously good, but are Australia making a mistake by rushing him in so young? Guys like this need a lot of careful management and a few years to develop and mature slowly. At his age, he thinks he's invincible and will want to play in every match he can, not realising the long term damage he could do to himself. It'd be awful if he broke down with stress fractures half way through the season because of over work. Use him sparingly for the next year or two....

Posted by Hammond on (July 3, 2012, 9:30 GMT)

@front-footlunge.. Pretty awful attempt at sarcasm. I was just saying that one shouldn't delight in the misfortune of a player, especially when they are such a promising young talent. Cricket can ill afford the absence of exciting young players. I'm sure that EnglishCricket didn't rejoice over Trescothick dress related illness, or Vaughans knees, or Jones' knee/back. And there were many Aussies who sympathised with all these players, and saw the 06 ashes as a touch of farce. My point is wish the young bloke well, don't post smileys on cricinfo at the news that Cummins suffered a serious injury.

Posted by Selassie-I on (July 3, 2012, 9:10 GMT)

Seems like CA are pushing him too early to me, maybe it's too big a jump for how much his body has developed at the moment, he should def be playing for 1st class cricket before being thrown into tests, they should get him in the odd odis and t20s early on, like stevie Finn, so he gets some experience, maybe send him over to county cricket for a season etc. let him develop in his own time. It would be a shame if another young bowling talent was lost, there is not enough around at the moment.. but keep him away from tests for a couple of years if he's just going to break down every time.

Posted by renegademike on (July 3, 2012, 8:50 GMT)

I dont understand these injury issues with these modern day fast bowlers. accepted that cuumins just 19 n his body needs to mature adequately. I remember wasim n waqar making their debuts at cummmins age. n they were blistering quicks. only way a bowler will mature is by bowling more n more in a match. not just cummins but the modern lot of quicks really do look fragile. pity we dont get more to see of this promising quick in international cricket.

Posted by Front-Foot_lunge on (July 3, 2012, 8:41 GMT)

@EnglishCricket it pains me that you would take delight in the injury to others, especially an up and coming bowler. With each post, you prove correct, others assertions that we are bad sports and bad winners. We gloat at our victories forgetting how awful we were for about 2 decades!

Might I remind you that Anderson also missed the last ODI because of a soft tissue injury, and Dernbach is now out of the side...with a side strain. Since the Aussies are here on a 'conditioning tour' I would suggest that their management of their bowlers is superior to ours.

Posted by   on (July 3, 2012, 7:30 GMT)

This seems to be just a very minor injury so he has been put into cotton wool. This can happen to any bowler, Dernbach and Anderson spring to mind... He was extremely overbowled in the shield final before the South African tour some time ago which apparently sowed the seeds for his lingering foot injury. I don't think we'll see a repeat of that and i'd expect to see him ready and roaring at the T20 cup in Sri Lanka in a few months from now.

Posted by VVS_a_class_act on (July 3, 2012, 7:17 GMT)

So much over rated bowler. Can't even play two games back to back, still pepole thinking that he has lot to offer to cricket. I bet he can't complete even 10 test matches in whole of his career. Wate of time.

Posted by Truemans_Ghost on (July 3, 2012, 6:49 GMT)

Brett Lee knows a thing or two about injury management he's had his share and to be still bowling at 90mpg, even in short forms is pretty remarkable. Thing is not all players are as stubborn and commited as Lee.

Posted by pksports on (July 3, 2012, 5:51 GMT)

The current Australian vice -captain Shane Watson is good example. In his first five years on the international scene he spent far more time on the sidelines than on the park, he had injury after injury that resulted from him going straight back into international cricket to early. If Cummings plays international 20/20 cricket and some domestic cricket over the next two years plus the occasional test and one day game, then this will allow his body the time it takes to adjust to the physical demands of international cricket.

Posted by satish619chandar on (July 3, 2012, 5:22 GMT)

Smith could add value ONLY if he can bowl more.. Unless he bowls, i wiould asay he is a misfit in the team.. For a guy who had played test cricket as a bowler(Along with White), to be underbowled after that is a crime either for selecting them as lead spinner or not using them as parttimer too.. Can say nothing about Cummins.. Yes he is a exciting potential but why rush his comeback and make him injured again and again? Leave him alone for a couple of years and let him play a full season of cricket without injury and prove his fitness longterm.. Are the Aussie that unsure about the other bowlers as match winners? Atleast we don't think so..

Posted by nzcricket174 on (July 3, 2012, 4:56 GMT)

Australia have the next Shane Bond.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (July 3, 2012, 4:04 GMT)

A lot of people are saying that Cummins can't handle the workload of international cricket yet and that he should spend some more time in domestic cricket to let his body mature and toughen up. That's a quite legitimate point of view and I'm inclined to agree, but let's not kid ourselves that playing domestic cricket won't lead to injuries too. Assuming that Cummins didn't come back too early from his previous injury, his workload since returning wouldn't have been that much different to what he would have experienced in domestic cricket. He's only played a couple of limited-overs games. It's not like he's just played a full Test series.

Posted by Meety on (July 3, 2012, 3:42 GMT)

I am sure there was an identical heading about Cummins only a couple of months ago?

Posted by Hammond on (July 3, 2012, 2:05 GMT)

@EnglishCricket- c'mon that's pretty rough why would you smile when a potentially great prospect is plagued by injuries? Would you rather a consistent line of bog average medium pacers like Siddle "test" this English side or the best young cricketers that Australia have to offer? For me I hope he gets fit and firing quickly and we get the great spectacle of a young Aussie tearaway ripping into the English batting. It's been too long since we've seen it.

Posted by praveen4honestremark on (July 3, 2012, 0:55 GMT)

I some how feel that if McGrath would have been bowling coach for this Australian team, then it would have been great for Cummings and Co. As it brings so much inspiration for a bowler and also helpful in context that McGrath can be helpful to bowlers in suggesting and training on how to maintain body.

Posted by bobagorof on (July 2, 2012, 23:38 GMT)

Agree with Keith Fletcher and Chris Sun - he needs to build up his match fitness. Bowlers of yesteryear did a lot more bowling than today's cricketers, even with the hectic international schedule. They bowled for 4 days every week for 5 months straight. What's changed? I appreciate that Cummins is only 19 and still growing, but he was bowling extended spells for NSW a year before his first Test and bowled 136 overs in 5 innings. Now he breaks down after 10 when playing for Australia. Something is wrong there.

Posted by Carpathian on (July 2, 2012, 23:20 GMT)

So basically Arthur wants Cummins to play the odd international match. This is all well and good but he's not going to develop if he gets injured every time he plays fro Australia and then fails to build on his very, very minimal domestic experience. He shouldn't be anywhere near the international set-up yet.

Posted by   on (July 2, 2012, 22:26 GMT)

He lacks match time. He's barely played 8 domestic one day games. He needs more match time to be able to adapt to the demands of international cricket. Otherwise injuries could force him to take the path of Shaun Tait, the most promising fast bowler with no future.

Posted by   on (July 2, 2012, 21:54 GMT)

Why is it that today's fast(ish) bowlers are continually injured ? Could it be all the stupid so-called exercise programmes thay are subjected to ? Fifty years ago many county bowlers never went through this nonsense but bowled at least 1000 overs a season and were at least as fast or faster than this lot. Perhaps a couple of years down the pits would strenghten them up. I'm sure dear old Fred would have recommended that.

Posted by landl47 on (July 2, 2012, 21:32 GMT)

Cummins has a high leap into his delivery stride. That probably helps his pace, but it puts a lot of stress on his back and his front leg. I don't know if his action can be slightly modified so he doesn't come down as hard, but if not (and Jimmy Anderson was badly affected by attempts to change his action, so it's not always a good idea), then he might wind up being prone to injuries his whole career. I think Mickey Arthur has the right idea here; he should be given a light workload for a couple of years until he's fully mature. England did that with Steve Finn and it seems to have worked, Finn's been pretty injury-free. I hope Cummins is able to reach his full potential, he's a very exciting prospect.

Posted by Harmony111 on (July 2, 2012, 21:18 GMT)

This doesn't look like good news to me. IIRC he got injured after his debut test too and even here he has hardly played any cricket save 2 ODIs and some practice matches may be. I do like him and feel he would be a fine fast bowler when he peaks but for that time to come his body must be handled carefully. I am not an orthopedic but is he getting injured so often due to fact that the strain on his body conflicts with his growing bones that may not have fused fully at their ends? Looks like the mature bowlers can handle that strain but not the young ones owing to their still growing bones. It would be a shame to lose such a bright talent. This also puts into perspective the contrast of young batsmen vs young bowlers. Cricket is indeed a very cruel game for fast bowlers. They have such a short shell life. Too soon and they get injured too often, too late and they lose all their pace, later still and they start getting injured too often yet again. They get no more than 8-9 yrs at best.

Posted by cbradbury on (July 2, 2012, 20:31 GMT)

Rosbif, it is because Australia are desperate to find quality players and are rushing people in who are either not up to it or are simply too young and inexperienced. Biggest joke I have heard recently is Bill Lawrie claiming that Australia have the best attack in the world. Yeah, right...if Anderson, Swann, Bresnan, Finn, Broad and Tremlett were available for selection for Aus they would all walk into the side...

Posted by   on (July 2, 2012, 19:29 GMT)

it looks like more goings than cummins.

Posted by rosbif on (July 2, 2012, 18:37 GMT)

Sorry if this sounds like heresy in these modern times, but why don't Australia just leave him alone for a couple of years so he can finish growing and learn a bit more about his game in grade cricket and the first class game? Let him bowl when he's picked by his club or state side, and let him progress naturally. Manufacturing bowlers at international level might seem efficient in the meeting room, but it doesn't seem to be very practical in real life.

Posted by EnglishCricket on (July 2, 2012, 17:20 GMT)

I have a funny feeling injuries will ruin his International career :)

Posted by Charlie101 on (July 2, 2012, 17:06 GMT)

The management of both England and Australia do not want to play 5 specialist bowlers in their teams but perhaps rather than "resting " bowlers they should consider playing 5 bowlers to ease the work load .

Posted by   on (July 2, 2012, 16:21 GMT)

I agree with Brett partially because it's best for an individual for him to know his limits to give his best, but if you can prevent niggles then you should. I don't see it badly if you can prevent all of this and emerge strong and perform all the way! Though cummins needs as much exposure as he can get. It will only make him more of a thinking fast bowler than his age would show.

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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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