Keen on the longest form … Pat Cummins says playing for Australia against England next year would be ''the ultimate goal''. Photo: Brendan Esposito
PAT CUMMINS has his sights set on a return to Test cricket in time for next year's Ashes, but does not believe his body can handle the rigours of a five-Test series.
Cummins, who has been dogged by injury since making his Test debut against South Africa at the Wanderers 13 months ago, is at least six weeks away from returning to action. While the golden child of Australian cricket is sure to be selected in the touring squad if fit, he believes his body would not hold up through a demanding bid to win back the Ashes.
''Probably not, to be honest,'' the 19-year-old said. ''I'd love to play one more Test, but certainly for me, 'Patto' [James Pattinson] and 'Starky' [Mitchell Starc] … even 'Sidds' [Peter Siddle] … have struggled to get through five on the trot.
''I'd love to in the future but my first aim would be to be available for selection on [the tour of India, beginning in February].''
Cummins felt he needed six months of bowling before the first Test at Trent Bridge on July 10.
The last time Australia travelled to England for the Ashes, Cummins was still in high school, flicking between the television coverage of the cricket and the Tour de France.
This time around, he's using the five-Test series as motivation, hoping to make his return to the big stage on English soil.
As revealed in Thursday's Herald, Cummins has given up the shortest form of the game to concentrate on its longest, in a bid to ensure he is fully fit in time to take on the Poms.
''I'd love to be part of that, that's the ultimate goal,'' he said. ''I'm not playing any [Indian Premier League] this year to get back to playing red-ball cricket.
''I've been playing heaps of white-ball cricket lately. Once I'm back bowling, there isn't going to be many options over here, so hopefully I can go over and play in England. Even if it is just leagues cricket, something that's a little bit less intense than county cricket.
''I've got no idea what I'll do in the long term but, certainly in the short term, I've been playing Twenty20 a lot in the last year or two. I love playing it but it's probably come at the cost of some red-ball opportunities.
''I have hardly played a red-ball game the last two years. I certainly want to go down that path. At the moment, I'm trying to put that first and see what happens in the future. I love playing all forms, but certainly red ball is the main one for me.''
While Cummins is adamant he will not drop his pace to reduce the likelihood of injury, he is tinkering with his action.
''I've been looking at some footage - it's nothing too drastic,'' he said. ''Just pretty commonsense things, trying to get everything lined up. I go across the body a bit with my arms but once I get the arms going straight, the other things will take care of itself.''