Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Degree of patience for frustrated Cummins

Patrick Cummins

"I enjoyed having the red ball in my hand and having to back up for three or four spells a day. I enjoyed getting in the contest and it reaffirmed my hunger": Cummins.

If there's an upside to the news Pat Cummins could miss up to four months of the coming season after aggravating a stress fracture in his lower back, it's that he'll finish his degree ahead of schedule.

Scans confirmed Cummins, 20, returned home from the Australia A team's tour of southern Africa with a ''partial recurrence'' of the injury that ruined last season for him. On Tuesday a ''frustrated'' Cummins said he was trying to work out what went wrong. ''But I haven't come up with too many answers yet,'' he said.

Compounding his disappointment was Cummins's admission that before the tour of Zimbabwe and South Africa he wasn't ''sure'' how he'd return after missing last season. However, it took only a few overs for him to feel he was back where he belonged.

''Once I started playing I was happy and I was surprised by how well I felt,'' he said. ''I was back to my best, which gave me the confidence that the changes I'd made [worked]. I wasn't bowling any slower and felt I was swinging the ball more consistently. I certainly haven't lost any pace - and I was worried about that.

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''I was in a really good place over there. I was happy to be bowling again … I enjoyed having the red ball in my hand and having to back up for three or four spells a day. I enjoyed getting in the contest and it reaffirmed my hunger.''

Cummins spent last season fine-tuning his bowling action, being mentored by Dennis Lillee in Perth and taking stock from Brett Lee's words of wisdom about fighting back from injury. He thought he'd left nothing to chance during his rehabilitation and biomechanic reconstruction. ''I became a more efficient runner, I tightened up my bowling action, I was as fit as anyone. I did all the gym work,'' he said. ''I guess there's nothing you can do to make the bones stronger which I guess was the cause [of the fracture] this year as well.''

The Penrith paceman, who announced his arrival as a star on the rise in 2011 when he took seven wickets against South Africa in his only Test, said he'd done everything to ensure a seamless return.

''There's no guarantees with injuries but I did everything possible to minimise them,'' he said. ''You can decrease the risk but you can't eliminate the risk.''

Cummins will return to university as a full-time student this semester, a decision that should allow him to finish his bachelor of business studies quicker. However, his real desire is to mark out his run-up as soon as possible. ''It's where I want to be,'' he said.


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