Cummins named in Australia A squad

Domestic performances recognised in strong 24-man squad for winter quadrangular series featuring South Africa in far north Queensland

Fast bowling sensation Pat Cummins is set to make his return to cricket with Australia A in a winter quadrangular series to be played in north Queensland.

Cummins last played for Australia in September 2015 in a one-day match against England, following which he was diagnosed with a lower lumbar bone stress fracture.

The 22-year-old returned to bowling in February and had been hoping for selection to the senior side's winter tours of the Caribbean and Sri Lanka.

However, Cummins has been selected in a strong 24-man Australia A squad that includes fellow senior team bowlers Kane Richardson, Scott Boland, Moises Henriques, Joel Paris and spinners Ashton Agar and Cameron Boyce.

National Selector Rod Marsh said Cummins would only play white-ball cricket, if at all.

"Pat is tracking along nicely in his recovery from his long term injury and we are hopeful he will be available for the one-day matches in this series," said Marsh.

"However, we will be guided by medical staff on his return."

Australia A squad: Ashton Agar, Cameron Bancroft, Scott Boland, Cameron Boyce, Pat Cummins, Travis Dean, Peter Handscomb, Travis Head, Sam Heazlett, Moises Henriques, Jake Lehmann, Chris Lynn, Joe Mennie, Kurtis Patterson, Joel Paris, Matt Renshaw, Kane Richardson, Alex Ross, Chadd Sayers, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Chris Tremain, Dan Worrall, Sam Whiteman.

Australia A will play South Africa A in two unofficial Tests in Brisbane and Townsville in early August. Those two teams will be joined by another squad and Cricket Australia's National Performance Squad in a quadrangular 50-over series with matches in Townsville and Mackay.

Another two unofficial Tests will be played against the yet-to-be-confirmed international side in Brisbane in September. A similar series in 2014 included India A.

CA's General Manager of Team Performance, Pat Howard said the series would be an important sounding board ahead of a summer that features series against South Africa, Pakistan, New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

"This is an important series for us that will provide the national selectors and coaches with excellent insights into those players who are either returning from injury or have impressed in the past 12 months and who could play a role for the Australian team in the future," Howard said.

Australia A's batting line-up will feature rising South Australia guns Travis Head and Jake Lehmann, Queenslanders Chris Lynn, Matt Renshaw and Sam Heazlett plus Victorians Travis Dean and Peter Handscomb.

"It is important that we continue to build our arsenal of quality fast-bowlers and this squad features some new faces such as Joe Mennie and Dan Worrell, both of whom have impressed at the Shield level," said Marsh.

"We are lucky enough to have some talented young up and coming batsman performing well. Travis Head, Travis Dean, Cameron Bancroft and Jake Lehmann have all had impressive seasons and thoroughly deserve this opportunity.

"The squad’s experience is bolstered with the inclusion of Ashton Agar, Marcus Stoinis, Moises Henriques, Scott Boland and Kane Richardson, all of whom have played either Test or one-day cricket for Australia."

While Cummins return is welcome news for Australia's fast bowling stable, a notable exclusion from the Australia A party was Western Australia quick Jason Behrendorff, who is still recovering from the back stress fractures that kept him out most of last summer.

"Jason is pain free and back running and lifting weights. He is looking to return even fitter and stronger with a view to bowling again in July," a WACA spokesperson said today.

Stoinis, who also featured in the A series in 2014, has seen his star rise with a series of impressive performances for the Kings XI Punjap in the Indian Premier League.

"I think from being put in these sort of situations you're forced to adapt or you get kicked out pretty quickly," Stoinis said after an unbeaten 34 that took his side within a run of defeating the powerful Royal Challengers Bangalore side.

"I'm enjoying every opportunity because you've got to adapt very quickly to succeed in this game at a higher level.

"My game has changed a little bit (and) also just being tested mentally every game, every situation is a good test.

"I think the key is consistent development and improving all the time ... but it feels like I'm getting there."

Bupa National Cricket Centre head coach Troy Cooley will coach Australia A, while Graeme Hick and former Australia fast bowler Ryan Harris will mentor the NPS squad.


Four-day matches

30 July – 2 August, Australia A v South Africa A, Allan Border Field, Brisbane

6 August – 9 August, Australia A v South Africa A, Tony Ireland Stadium, Townsville

One-day Series

13 August, South Africa A v NPS, Tony Ireland Stadium, Townsville

14 August, Australia A v TBC, Tony Ireland Stadium, Townsville

16 August, Australia A v NPS, Tony Ireland Stadium, Townsville

17 August, South Africa A v TBC, Tony Ireland Stadium, Townsville

20 August, Australia A v South Africa A, Tony Ireland Stadium, Townsville

21 August, TBC v NPS, Tony Ireland Stadium, Townsville

24 August, NPS v Australia A, Harrup Park, Mackay

25 August, South Africa A v TBC, Harrup Park, Mackay

27 August, NPS v TBC, Harrup Park, Mackay

28 August, Australia A v South Africa A, Harrup Park, Mackay

30 August, Australia A v TBC, Harrup Park, Mackay

31 August, South Africa A v NPS, Harrup Park, Mackay

3 September; Final 3 v 4, Harrup Park, Mackay

4 September, Final 1 v 2, Harrup Park, Mackay

Four-day matches

8-11 September, Australia A v TBC, Allan Border Field, Brisbane

15-18 September, Australia A v TBC, Allan Border Field, Brisbane