Injury problems again: Pat Cummins. Photo: Getty Images
Patrick Cummins just cannot catch a break. The signs were not good when Australia's most exciting fast bowler was sent home early from the Australia A tour of South Africa a week ago and it was confirmed on Monday he would miss a third straight home summer through injury.
''Pat returned home early from the Australia A tour of Africa with some side/back soreness and scans have shown a partial recurrence of his lower back bone stress injury suffered in October last year,'' said Cricket Australia's chief medical officer, Justin Paoloni.
''He will be closely monitored to determine his return to the playing field, but expect that he will miss most of the 2013-14 domestic cricket season.''
The diagnosis is another devastating development for the 20-year-old quick who stormed onto the international scene with a man-of-the-match display in this Test debut in Johannesburg nearly two years ago but has hardly played since.
Cummins missed the following home summer with a foot injury, picked up in his one and only Test, and then last summer was also sidelined with injury as his Sydney Sixers won the Twenty20 Champions League.
For a third straight year he has broken down in South Africa, this time after bowling 54 overs in three matches - two first-class games in Harare, Zimbabwe, and Rustenberg, South Africa, and a one-dayer in Pretoria.
While the continent is the site of his greatest triumph, no one would blame the young paceman if he never wanted to go back to Africa.
Last month, Cummins said he had made minor alterations to his bowling action after his most recent recovery from injury. It featured a slightly straighter arm path and changes to his running technique.
''I knew pretty much straight away it was going to be a long road, not only to getting back to 100 per cent, but to nailing down any changes,'' he said.
''But I'm really confident now that all those changes are going to stick. It's trying to change things that I've been doing for 15 to 16 years, or adjust them slightly, so it takes a couple of months. I'm fully fit now, so I'm itching to play games again.''