Cummins eyes long-awaited home debut

Following years of setbacks. the tearaway couldn't be more excited for this summer's Ashes

It's been six years in the making and luckless fast bowler Pat Cummins is finally allowing himself to believe that a first Test match on home soil will soon be his.

Cummins took another step towards finally achieving that goal this summer when it was announced on Friday he would skip the T20 leg of Australia's Qantas Tour of India. The right-armer will head home on Monday week so he can have three full weeks of rest before the start of the JLT Sheffield Shield season and then the Magellan Ashes in late November.

After six frustrating years of major injury setbacks since his memorable Test debut in Johannesburg in 2011, Cummins has ironically been Australia's fast bowling ironman this year while Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and James Pattinson have all been sidelined due to injury.

And unless the unfathomable scenario of another injury strikes in the next two months, the right-armer appears to be a walk-up start for the first Test against England in Brisbane, just his sixth Test and his first at home.

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"More than anything, (I'm excited about) playing my first Test in Australia," Cummins said in Kolkata on Friday.

"I haven't really even been close to playing a Test in Australia so knowing in a couple of months that I could be playing at the Gabba in an Ashes Test, it'd be pretty crazy.

"I'm trying to get through this series and after that, all the focus will be on the Ashes and playing those first three Shield games.

"I'm pretty pumped."

The decision to send Cummins home early from India was always going to be a case of when and not if given his high workload over the past month and earlier this year.

Skipping the three-match T20 series next month allows him an extra two weeks of rest before NSW's first Shield game starts on October 26, one of three four-day contests before the first Test begins on November 23.

The move from Australia's selectors and coaching staff has the full backing of their star quick.

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"It's probably the only opportunity in a pretty busy schedule this summer to get a couple of weeks of rest," he said.

"I think if I stayed for the T20s, I'd only get around about a week before the Shield season kicks off. So it gives me just a bit of extra time to just prepare for red-ball cricket.

"Obviously, Bangladesh was a pretty tough tour so I think that gave us the final answer and it's seems like a pretty good decision, I think.

"You want to play every game for Australia that you can. But looking at the schedule it’s a good opportunity to really take a longer-term view and try and get ready for a big summer."

Cummins knows better than most that cricket, especially fast bowling, can be a cruel game.

But 12 months of injury-free cricket has given him the confidence that this summer won't be another false start.

"I couldn't have been any happier with how I've played in the last year," he said.

"Every game my body feels like it recovers really well and it feels like I'm in a really good place at the moment."

2017-18 International Fixtures:

Magellan Ashes Series

First Test Gabba, November 23-27. Buy tickets

Second Test Adelaide Oval, December 2-6 (Day-Night). Buy tickets

Third Test WACA Ground, December 14-18. Buy tickets

Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Buy tickets

Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Buy tickets

ODI Series v England

First ODI MCG, January 14. Buy tickets

Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Buy tickets

Third ODI SCG, January 21. Buy tickets

Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Buy tickets

Fifth ODI Perth TBC, January 28. Join the ACF

Prime Minister's XI

PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Buy tickets

T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series

First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Buy tickets

Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Buy tickets

Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Buy tickets

Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 13

Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16

Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18

Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21