SYDNEY (Reuters) - Pat Cummins' international career has had more than its fair share of false starts due to injuries but captain Steve Smith hopes the upcoming one-day series against New Zealand will prove a launchpad for the Australia fast bowler to kick on.
The right armer, who made a dream test debut against South Africa as a raw 18-year-old in 2011 with match figures of seven for 117, was recalled to the Australian side for the first time in more than a year for the three-match Chappell-Hadlee series.
The 23-year-old missed all of last season after yet another stress fracture in his lower back but returned with a vengeance in Australia's domestic one-day competition last month, taking 15 wickets at 18.60.
Chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns said when the one-day squad was named last week that he was particularly pleased to see him back bowling with real pace.
With Australia choosing not to rest test spearheads Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, Smith had three genuinely quick bowlers at his disposal for the series against New Zealand that starts in Sydney on Sunday.
"It looked like he bowled with some good pace so it's nice to have the option of Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins at our disposal," Smith told Australian Associated Press in Sydney on Wednesday. "It's very exciting."
Cummins, man of the match in his test debut, has been blighted by injury since, suffering heel problems, a torn side muscle and stress fractures in his back.
Such have been the extent of his injuries, he has played just eight first-class games since he made his debut for New South Wales against Tasmania in Hobart as a 17-year-old. His last first-class game was on last year's Ashes tour of England.
Smith, however, said that if he could prove his fitness through limited overs cricket then he could be in the frame for Australia's tour of India next February.
"Obviously he's going to play these one-dayers. I dare say he'll play the one-dayers at the back end of the summer as well and I think after Christmas he might be playing some Shield cricket," Smith added.
"India's possible. He's obviously got to play some Shield cricket first and see how he goes ... how his body holds up.
"So far he's going pretty well."
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Peter Rutherford)