Pat Cummins drama sparks unwanted fallout for Aussie Test teammates

Pat Cummins, pictured here alongside Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc.
Pat Cummins' injury woes could be bad news for Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc. Image: Getty

Pat Cummins' injury concerns have sparked an unwanted fallout for his fellow fast bowlers, with the Aussies worried about the workload of Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood after the first Test. Cummins didn't bowl on day five against the West Indies in Perth, putting himself in cotton wool as the Aussies took a 1-0 lead in the series.

While Cummins is confident of overcoming a calf complaint to play in the second Test, there are concerns that his absence from the attack on Sunday could result in Starc or Hazlewood being rested for the day-night match in Adelaide. Starc and Hazlewood were asked to bowl 45 and 43 overs respectively in Perth.

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With just a four-day turnaround to the second Test and three more matches against South Africa this summer, there's a huge chance the fast bowling stars will be sidelined at some point to manage their workloads. There are no more than four days between any of the Tests this summer, while the players will also have just three weeks between the last Test in Sydney before flying out to India for four more Tests in February.

Aussie selectors brought uncapped paceman Lance Morris into the squad for the second Test on Monday, giving them three options for replacements alongside Scott Boland - who served as 12th man in Perth - and Michael Neser. Australia coach Andrew McDonald said the team would be extremely cautious with their pacemen ahead of next year's blockbuster showdown with India.

"Bowling last and a short turn-around, put stress and strain on your bowling stock," McDonald said in regard to Starc and Hazlewood. "We know we've got other guys that are there ready and available. See how our guys pull up and then move from there.

"We've got to respect that, the short turn-around. At the moment as it sits they've pulled up well, both Josh and Mitch. Patty's obviously the major concern, and we erred on the side of caution with him."

Despite Cummins saying he's confident of playing in Adelaide, McDonald only rated his captain a 50-50 chance. The coach said Cummins will be given until the very last minute to prove his fitness.

Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, pictured here during the first Test between Australia and West Indies.
Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins look on during the first Test between Australia and West Indies. (Photo by TREVOR COLLENS/AFP via Getty Images)

Andrew McDonald defends Pat Cummins fielding decision

McDonald also defended the decision to leave Cummins on the field for the majority of the final day in Perth even though he couldn't bowl. Fans and commentators were stunned that Cummins hadn't left the field to rest his sore calf.

"Was he at risk out there doing what he was doing? No," McDonald said. "He was able to manage the tempo in which he ran. We felt as though him being out there was helping us so that we were in control of the game.

"We can we can leave it right up to the to the toss if we want (to see if he will play in Adelaide). He's our captain, we're going to give him every chance to get out there, and ... even the way he marshalled the troops out there was impressive."

Andrew McDonald, pictured here  during an Australian team training session.
Andrew McDonald looks on during an Australian team training session. (Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images)

Speaking after the match, Cummins said: "I was pain free. Luckily we were in a good position so we could take the liberties (of not bowling).

"I don't really want to turn a one week injury into a three or four-week injury and you potentially miss the summer. So we'll weigh all that up. But I felt pretty comfortable out there.

"Give it a few days. It already feels pretty good. Our physio might be less optimistic but I think I'll be fine. I'm sure I'll have running and a bit of bowling to make sure I'm right."

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