Cricket Australia

http://www.cricket.com.au/Global Items/news/2012/11/2/clarke-says-cummins-setback-unavoidable

Clarke: Cummins setback unavoidable

UPDATED 12 February, 2013 3:58PM AEST | by Vince Rugari, Omnisport

Australia captain Michael Clarke feels for injured youngster Pat Cummins but believes nothing more could have been done to stop the tearaway quick's back problems.

A heartbroken Cummins was on Friday ruled out for the entire summer after scans revealed a bone stress injury in his lower back.

He was earmarked as a potential last-day substitute for NSW's Sheffield Shield match in Brisbane and was expected to figure in a Test for Australia at some stage this season.

But revelations that the 19-year-old was sore for the last week of the Sydney Sixers' Champions League Twenty20 triumph in South Africa have raised questions over whether he should have been pushed through the final stages of the lucrative tournament.

Given Cummins has not played a first-class match in 12 months, the injury also puts in doubt his participation in next year's Ashes campaign in England.

But Clarke said Cricket Australia has done everything possible to take care of the young tyro.

"When you're bowling that sort of pace, that amount of work and force going through your body at a young age when your bones are still growing, it's always going to be tough," he told reporters at stumps on day one of the Shield clash against Queensland.

"I spoke a while ago to Brett Lee about a similar thing and Brett made it clear - and I remember, growing up with Brett - that he had a lot of injuries at a young age as well."

Clarke said the decision to deal with Cummins' fracture early was not solely made by CA team performance manager Pat Howard.

"Pat spoke to a lot of people and got a lot of advice. He's done a fantastic job," he said.

"We've done everything in our power to try and look after (Cummins) and the way cricket is now, there is Champions League, there is IPL, there is state commitments, international commitments - that's just part of the game.

"They're ticking just about every box, it's just unfortunate that the poor guy's got injured.

"We have to accept unfortunately when fast bowlers are at such a young age, there is the chance that they can break down.

"Patty will be in good hands and I'm sure they'll look after him."

As for the other injury concern in the Australian squad - Ricky Ponting - Clarke said his withdrawal from Tasmania's Bupa Sheffield Shield game against South Australia was purely precautionary.

The former skipper is still expected to front up for next week's Test encounter with South Africa at the Gabba.

"They pulled him out to give him the best opportunity to be fit for the Test and (Australia physio) Alex (Kountouris) is very confident that he will be," Clarke said.

Clarke and the two other Australian batsmen in the NSW line-up, Shane Watson and David Warner, had a day to forget at Allan Border Field.

Dismissed for a combined total of only 43 runs, it was not the kind of tune-up the trio had in mind ahead of the meeting with the Proteas, who boast the best fast bowling line-up in the world.

The other Test player to feature for the Blues, Mitchell Starc, was restricted to just three overs for figures of 0-11.

Clarke said he was not trying to nurse him through the match.

"I'm sure you'll get a good look at him tomorrow," he said.

"I'm trying to take wickets to be honest. My focus right now is to help New South Wales in this game. That's the most important thing to me right now."

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 02 November, 2012 10:50PM AEST

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