Howard doubtful of Cummins' India hopes

Time appears to be running out for the tearaway to mount a case for Australia's four-Test tour of India

A horses for courses approach looks set to keep Australia's prized thoroughbred Pat Cummins in the stable for February's Test tour of India.

Former Test quick Brett Lee had urged selectors to ditch the cotton wool and let fit-again Cummins "off the leash" in the upcoming four Test series on the sub-continent.

Lee was excited by speedster Cummins' eight wickets - including a career-best 4-41 - in Australia's recent 3-0 one-day international series win against New Zealand, his first games for his country in 15 months.

Cricket Australia Executive General Manager of Team Performance Pat Howard said the prospect of Cummins, who starred with seven wickets in his first and only Test to date in 2011, dusting off his Baggy Green had come down to India or next summer's Ashes.

But it seems the prospect of an injury-plagued Cummins toiling away on the sub-continent does not appeal to selectors, with Howard suggesting "workhorses", as opposed to out-and-out speedsters, had been successful with the ball in India in the past.

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"You look back at the sort of bowlers and combinations needed for that tour," Howard told ABC Grandstand.

"Jason Gillespie was our most successful bowler of the 2004 tour.

"You have to look at the strike bowler or the workhorse."

Howard also hinted that time had already run out for Cummins to tour India.

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"There's the decision between whether or not it is India or the Ashes," Howard told 

"And before that you'd need one or two (Sheffield) Shield games to be get back in."

The Shield competition has taken a break until February to cater for the KFC Big Bash League.

Howard said Cummins would be further eased back through Australia's upcoming five game one-day series against Pakistan next month via the BBL with the Sydney Thunder.

Patience key for Cummins comeback

"We are taking it series by series," Howard said of Cummins' international future.

Meanwhile, Howard tried to allay the fears of another recovering quick - James Pattinson.

The fiery Victorian said this week he wanted to ensure he didn't return too soon from a back injury to the Test team with the India tour on the horizon.

Quick Single: Renegades coach preaches patience with Patto

Pattinson has not played since suffering the injury against New Zealand in February.

"He makes a real difference," Howard said of the 26-year-old.

"But we have a duty of care to look after him.

"And our conversations with Cummins and Pattinson are about the long game."

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Meg Lanning Steve Smith