Ripping return revives Baggy Green dream

Test cricket still the burning ambition as Coulter-Nile comes back into green and gold with a bang

He's still a few weeks away from his 30th birthday, but Nathan Coulter-Nile says there were times over the past 12 months when he feared his days as an international cricketer were over.

Having been sidelined for the entirety of last Australian summer due to a serious back problem, which came after injuries to both hamstrings and both shoulders in the previous two years that badly hurt his chances of national selection, the right-armer worried he may never get back at all.

He conceded last month that he even considered giving up the longest form of the game to become a T20 specialist, so steep did he view the climb back to his ultimate dream of playing Test cricket.

But on Sunday, he overcame another big obstacle in his latest comeback and he's now ready to kick start his Baggy Green dream again, albeit cautiously.

Coulter-Nile strikes thrice early

"There were defintely periods where I wondered if I was ever going to play for Australia again," Coulter-Nile said after taking 3-44 in Australia's 26-run loss to India in Chennai on Sunday.

"I was always confident I could play for WA and get through a domestic season. That's a lot easier than the rigours and travel of playing for Australia.

"But it's yet to be seen if I can get through an Aussie tour yet.

"I thought long and hard about (giving up first-class cricket) and I ended up trying to give it another crack. After talking to 'JL' (state coach Justin Langer) and a few blokes, I think it'd just be mad to give up the dream at 29.

"I still think I've got a lot of cricket left in me so hopefully I can still get there.

"Absolutely, Test cricket is still the dream. I think it's the dream of every kid playing in Australia.

"It's not about earning money in the IPL, it's about playing Test cricket and representing your country on the big stage."

The Western Australian told Glenn Maxwell in a video blog this week that his partner Shani and young daughter have been crucial in keeping his fire burning when the grind of constant injuries had all but extinguished the flame.

"I don't know how she does it but she just makes me feel like everything is going to be OK," Coulter-Nile said of Shani.

"And as well as my daughter, she loves me no matter what happens. I could not have a (fit) shoulder and she'd still give me a hug.

"Family is what really brings me back to wanting to get out there and do it again."

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Ironically, Coulter-Nile knows his chances of a first Test cap – which appeared on track in late 2015 before an untimely dislocation of his bowling shoulder in a BBL game ruled him out of contention for the Hobart Test against West Indies – will depend on the fitness of others.

The right-armer is unlikely to have been in India had Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and James Pattinson not been nursing minor injuries ahead of the Ashes and the fitness of that trio as well as Pat Cummins will determine Coulter-Nile's path back into the Test set-up.

But he knows as much as that star quartet just how bad fast bowling can be for your health.

"I'm up near with them, but I'm not up with them," he said when asked where he sits in the pecking order in relation to Australia's 'Big Four' quicks.

"But it's the nature of cricket that those blokes aren't fit all the time ... which is why I've got the chance here. I've just got to be fit at the right time to get a break, I guess.

"My goals this year are to purely play well for WA. I'm confident I can get through for WA and just get my body into some sort of shape to play for Australia consistently."

Australia's Qantas Tour of India

Australia ODI squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Ashton Agar, Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Patrick Cummins, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa.

Australia T20 squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Jason Behrendorff, Dan Christian, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Patrick Cummins, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Glenn Maxwell, Tim Paine, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa.

India squad (first three ODIs): Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami.

ODI Fixtures

September 17: MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai

September 21: Eden Gardens, Kolkata

September 24: Holkar Cricket Stadium, Indore

September 28: M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru

October 1: VCA Stadium, Nagpur

T20 Fixtures

October 1: JSCA International Stadium, Ranchi

October 10: Barsapara Stadium, Guwahati

October 13: Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad