Australian pace ace Pat Cummins is on track to make his long-awaited Perth Scorchers debut in Friday night’s Twenty20 clash with the Sydney Sixers at the SCG.
Cummins made a successful return from a back injury over the weekend, scoring 75 and taking 0-16 from five overs in WA club ranks.
The 20-year-old has been carefully managed since breaking down with a recurrence of stress fractures while playing for Australia A in August.
Cummins failed to play a game for the Scorchers last summer due to injury, and he’ll miss Tuesday night’s clash with Hobart in Perth.
But Scorchers coach Justin Langer is hopeful the star paceman will be ready to return against the Sixers.
“His whole rehabilitation has been over a long time and has been planned meticulously,” Langer said of Cummins, who has been plagued by back and foot injuries since making a stunning Test debut in 2011.
“He’s a player of great national interest, so we’re guided as much by Cricket Australia as we are by our medical team here.
“He’ll add something a little bit different that a lot of teams haven’t got – that’s straight out pace.”
Scorchers skipper Simon Katich will again front up despite still nursing a broken finger that he suffered five weeks ago.
Katich scored 75 off 42 balls to lead his team to victory over the Thunder last week, lifting Perth (2-2) to fourth spot on the table.
The sixth-placed Hurricanes are one point further adrift, and coach Damien Wright said his team’s finals hopes were now on the line.
“This game is a big one for us. We need to stay in contention with the top of the ladder,” Wright said.
The Scorchers have been boosted by the return of all-rounder Nathan Coulter-Nile, who was placed on standby with the Test team last week.
Perth squad: Simon Katich (capt), Yasir Arafat, Michael Beer, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Brad Hogg, Mitch Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Alfonso Thomas, Ashton Turner, Craig Simmons, Adam Voges, Sam Whiteman.
Hobart squad: Tim Paine (capt), Xavier Doherty, Aiden Blizzard, Travis Birt, Doug Bollinger, Cameron Boyce, Ben Dunk, Evan Gulbis, Ben Hilfenhaus, Ben Laughlin, Shoaib Malik, Owais Shah, Jon Wells.