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Cummins cautious on Test cricket return

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 6 days ago Steve Zemek

Injury-prone paceman Pat Cummins is eyeing a return to the Test arena for next summer's Ashes and is confident his long history of breakdowns is behind him.

The 23-year-old will return to the Australian side for the first time in 15 months for their three-game one-day series against New Zealand, which starts on Sunday at the SCG.

In what shapes as a momentous occasion for the right-handed tearaway, he is hoping to put his injury problems behind him once and for all.

While it's been speculated he could be rushed back into the Australian Test squad as early as the upcoming series against Pakistan or next year's tour of India, he said he wasn't expecting to be back with a red ball in his hands until next summer's home Ashes against England.

"Like any cricketer, World Cups and Ashes are what you look forward to," Cummins said.

"The Ashes next summer is a massive goal. At the moment it's key for me to get back in the side and assert myself in the ODI side and play a full summer and then after that I want to get back and play some first-class cricket with an eye on the Ashes side."

Cummins burst onto the scene with a seven-wicket man-of-the-match performance on Australia's Test tour of South Africa as an 18-year-old in 2011, but has been hobbled by injuries since.

He has not played another Test since his debut and has managed just 18 one-day internationals, in which he has taken 33 wickets.

On Sunday and in this series against the Black Caps he is likely to feature in a daunting pace attack alongside Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.

On the comeback trail form a chronic back problem, he said he was confident his injury woes were behind him.

As he approaches 25 - considered the age when fast bowlers become less susceptible to breakdown - he said he was feeling stronger and ready to play a long stretch of cricket.

"We were playing a game here (at the SCG) a couple of years ago and Josh Hazlewood had his 25th birthday and the physio said to him 'happy bone-healing day'," Cummins said.

"I don't think it's the magic number but I think it's the trend. Obviously Starcy and Hazlewood have played heaps since they were 24 or 23. I don't think there's a magic number but hopefully the older I get, the stronger I am."

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