Fast bowler Pat Cummins remains upbeat despite facing another lengthy period of rehabilitation as the result of a back stress fracture. Cummins has been ruled out of Australia's Test tour of Bangladesh but he has in mind the goal of returning to the national side in time for the World Twenty20 in India next March.
Stress fractures of the back and foot have cruelled Cummins' career ever since he was Man of the Match during his only Test appearance, against South Africa in Johannesburg in 2011. He has not played a Sheffield Shield game since March 2011 but was part of Australia's World Cup-winning squad this year and at 22, he is confident that he can again return from a long injury lay-off.
"I'm not really worried now, compared to a couple of years ago," Cummins told reporters in Sydney on Friday. "The fact I was able to come back after bowling a heavy schedule over two years, and to have it culminate in a really successful one-day international series at the back end of it means I'm not worried at all.
"I know I can do it. While we haven't set out a rehab plan yet - and things will obviously be dictated by my recovery - the Twenty20 World Championship in India early next year has been targeted as a goal for me to try and return for. I will be doing all of my rehab sessions with that tournament in mind."
Cummins was only 18 when he played his sole Test match and a big future was expected, but nearly four years on and his entire first-class career still consists of only eight games. He said his latest injury would not discourage him from continuing to bowl as fast as he could - often he is able to break the 150kph barrier.
"Certainly not, especially when you're playing for your country and the batsman is trying to smash you around," he said. "In short-form formats you have to bowl flat out because you only have a couple of overs to have an impact. Why would you bowl 140kph when you can hit 155?"
Australia's bowling coach Craig McDermott said he was confident Cummins could still have a long international career ahead of him despite the latest setback. McDermott said that although Cummins had "a little more lateral flexion than you'd like", there was no apparent need to rebuild his bowling action from scratch.
"He's just going to be disappointed he's got injured again and he's got another road back of six or seven months before he is back playing competitive cricket at a high level again," McDermott told the Age. "He's already shown he can do it in all three formats so we've just got to be patient with him. He'll do the rehab work, no doubt, and working your way back from those things is not much fun. It's long, tedious work ... but he's been through it and I'm sure he'll do the same.
"I don't think he'll have any problems whatsoever dealing with this. He's very mature, very meticulous with his preparation, and he'll be back bigger and better than ever ... I've known Patty since he was 16 or 17 ... it's disappointing he's got injured but he's still young, he's got time on his side. He's got another 10, 12 years ahead of him."