HOBART: Australia's teenage pace sensation Pat Cummins will likely miss the bulk of the home Test series against India with a bone stress heel injury, Cricket Australia said on Wednesday.
The 18-year-old fast bowler suffered the injury during his man-of-the-match debut in last month's second Johannesburg Test against South Africa.
It was initially thought to be bruising but new scans have revealed a bone stress problem and Cummins is unlikely to bowl again until early to mid-January, CA said.
India begin their four Test series against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Boxing Day with further Tests in Sydney, Perth and Adelaide throughout January.
“By the end of last week it was apparent to all of us managing him that he was progressing slower than expected for a soft tissue injury of the heel,”Australian team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said on Wednesday.
“As such we arranged for him to see a foot specialist and had further scans that have identified a bone component to his injury that was not evident on the original scans.
“We now believe that Patrick has a bone stress injury as well as the fat pad injury (soft tissue injury).”Kountouris said Cummins was not likely to resume bowling until after the opening two Tests against India.
The third Test against India is in Perth from January 13-17 and the fourth and final Test at Adelaide Oval from January 24-28. Cummins still has his sights on playing some role in the Test series.
He told reporters he did not have a date for his return to cricket but he aimed to play in the subsequent Twenty20 series against India and tri-nation one-day series also involving Sri Lanka, and possibly even some Test cricket.
“Hopefully the one-day series and the Twenty20,” he said. “Maybe I'll even be back in the Test.”
The teenager played down concern about the more serious diagnosis and was planning to rest until the Christmas period, when he will again test out his heel.
“It will only make a few weeks' difference,” he said.
“We thought there might have been something more to it because it took a bit longer to heal.
“Obviously, it's disappointing but hopefully it doesn't make too much of a difference.”
Cummins was acclaimed as Australia's newest pace bowling star when he captured six for 79 in South Africa's second innings to set up an exciting two-wicket win in the Johannesburg Test last month.
But he has not played since and was rested from last week's first Test win against New Zealand at the Gabba.
The youngster's setback continues to drain Australia's fast bowling stocks following Mitchell Johnson's foot surgery last week which will sideline the left-armer for five months.