Melbourne, Australia, Oct 17: Eighteen-year-old paceman Patrick Cummins was included Monday in Australia's cricket squad for two test matches against South Africa, replacing James Pattinson in the only change to the team's lineup from its three-test series against Sri Lanka.
Cummins, who has played just three first-class matches for New South Wales, taking nine wickets, was among the 15 players named by Cricket Australia for tests beginning Nov. 9 in Cape Town and Nov. 17 in Johannesburg.
Australia won the Sri Lanka series in late August and early September, winning the first test and drawing the others.
South Africa and Australia split their two Twenty20 matches and will play three limited-over internationals before the start of the test series.
Veteran batsman Michael Hussey, who was rested from domestic matches ahead of the one-day and test series, was also included in the squad. He was named man of the match in all three Sri Lanka tests.
“James (Pattinson) is very unlucky to miss selection,” Australia chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch said. “He is a very good young fast bowler who has done well in his limited opportunities at international level to date.”
Hilditch said Cummins was ready to play internationally.
“Patrick would have most likely been on the tour of Sri Lanka if not for injury at the end of last season,” Hilditch said. “Now he's back fit and bowling well, we saw this as the right time to bring him into the test squad for this important series.”
Hilditch said although playing South Africa “on their home soil is one of the hardest assignments in world cricket,” Australia wants to take stock of its fast bowlers ahead of home test matches in December and January—two against New Zealand and four against India.
“We face back-to-back tests in South Africa ahead of another six in Australia, so managing our fast bowlers through this tough schedule will be extremely important,” he said. “This squad gives us the flexibility to adapt to all conditions and we think gives us the right balance to maximize our chances of winning the series.”