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Injured Cummins would have been a handful for Tendulkar: Steve Waugh

Former Australian captain and co-author of the Argus Review report Steve Waugh has criticized Cricket Australia for blooding and promoting youngsters like pace spearhead Patrick Cummins prematurely, saying that the latter's express pace could have caused problems to Indian batting maestros Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid.



''He would have unsettled those guys and with he and [James] Pattinson together that would have been a real test for the 35-pluses in the Indian side, who have been playing in pretty flat decks and against not really quick attacks,'' the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Waugh, as saying.

He added: ''It would have been great for the crowds to see that. India will be very pleased not to see Pat Cummins in the side.''

Describing as ''ridiculous'' Cricket Australia's promotion of young bowlers like 18-year-old Patrick Cummins to Test cricket before their bodies have been readied for its rigours, Waugh said the country's pace bowlers were not spending enough time in the nets.

''It's pretty ridiculous that you've got young blokes who are talented and take the next step but haven''t had enough overs under their belt. Maybe they''re not match-hardened enough for that next level," Waugh told the Herald.

"You''ve got to look at why people are getting injured. With bowlers they actually don't have enough net bowling these days, they''re not battle-hardened enough for the demands of playing cricket," he added.

''Pat bowled a lot of overs in the final of the Shield, and all of a sudden had a back problem. He bowls a lot overs in the Test and has a heel problem. You''ve got to look at why people are getting injured. With bowlers they actually don''t have enough net bowling these days, they''re not battle-hardened enough for the demands of playing cricket,'' Waugh said.

The Herald reported yesterday that a review into Cricket Australia''s approach to injury management had begun, headed by CA''s sports science and sports medicine manager Peter Blanch.

''Cricket is a very specific type of fitness you can only get by bowling balls in the nets,'' said Waugh, who will roll his arm over himself in the Battle of the Smashers celebrity Twenty20 match at Drummoyne Oval on Sunday week.

He added: ''You can''t do it by going to the gym. We''ve probably gone too far the other way of protecting bowlers who probably used to bowl too much in the nets � they don''t bowl enough in the nets. When they get to the demands of first-class and Test cricket their bodies really aren''t strong enough."

Cummins was not officially ruled out of Australia''s entire four-Test series against India but he may has well have been because of his heel injury.

Australian team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris agreed that injuries stemming from Cummins''s past two first-class matches and the Shield final were a concern but said the latest problem may be a biomechanical issue, suggesting the teenager could require orthotics or taping in his shoes because of the way his heel hits the ground. 

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