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Cummins' comeback gets Lillee's approval

AAP logoAAP 2/12/2016 Steve Zemek

Australian pace tearaway Pat Cummins looks unlikely to be thrown the new ball despite declaring himself back to his best and his rehabilitation getting the personal seal of approval from Dennis Lillee.

Cummins is expected to make his first appearance in Australian colours in 15 months during Sunday's one-day series opener against New Zealand at the SCG.

Since he burst onto the scene as an 18-year-old on the 2011 tour of South Africa, Cummins was seen as a shining beacon of hope for the national side but has been restricted by a series of injuries.

While he declared he hadn't lost any pace following his latest rehabilitaiton from a chronic back problem, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood look set to lead the Aussie attack when the Chappell-Hadlee one-day series gets underway at the SCG on Sunday.

Asked who would open the bowling, skipper Steve Smith said: "Probably the two big guys that have been playing, I daresay. But you never know."

Smith said he was happy with the 23-year-old's progress and was licking his lips at unleashing their three-pronged pace attack.

" He bowled pretty quick in the nets yesterday, he bowled beautifully in the Matador Cup at the start of the season," Smith said.

"He's got that x-factor about him, he bowls with great pace and good aggression and things like that. I think he'll compliment the other quicks really well.

Cummins said he was confident of putting his problems behind him despite years of setbacks and breakdowns.

"This time I feel really comfortable with the process," Cummins said

"I feel like I've bowled heaps of overs lately. The month between Matador Cup and ODIs has given me a chance to play Futures League games where I've bowled 25 overs in a game. I've played a few grade games.

"It's been a way to come back and find that balance between playing quite and bit of cricket and bowling in the nets."

Part of the reason for Cummins' bullish attitude is seeking out the help of Lillee, who helped transform Mitchell Johnson from an inconsistent toiler to the world's most dangerous bowler.

Having been restricted to just one Test and 18 ODI appearances, Cummins sought out Lillee, who has in the past been a critic of how young fast bowlers are managed.

Lillee blamed a series of breakdowns within Australia's pace ranks over the last several years on a lack of work and bowlers being unwilling to harden their bodies.

"I feel like this time it's been a really good balance and this time Dennis has certainly been on the same page and he was keen for me to take that little bit of extra time and get more overs into me," Cummins said.

"But at the same time he went through the same issues and realises that the main thing is listening to your body and not to over-do it and peak at the right time."

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