Former Australia paceman Brett Lee says Australian selectors must stop holding back Pat Cummins from Test matches and the young quick should be picked in the touring squad to India in February.
Cummins' first and only Test was against South Africa in November 2011, and the then 18-year-old picked up strong match figures of 7-117.
It's no surprise that with Cummins close to full fitness Cricket Australia's big plans are for the New South Welshman to lead Australia's attack against England in the 2017-18 Ashes series next year, but Brett Lee believes that if he continues to be held back from Test cricket, Cummins won't know what his body is capable of withstanding.
“Absolutely [he should play in India] in my opinion. Whether they will or not, there’s a lot of red flagging going on about players being on the cusp of getting injured,” said Lee.
“If they’re not prepared to play him take him in the team, let him bowl in the nets and just bowl and bowl and bowl.
“Just get him in that mix again where he’s confident and he knows his body and he’s bowling under duress.
“You can’t just go from a Shield match or one first-grade game and expect to just go and play Test cricket. You need to keep playing a lot of cricket.”
If Cummins is held back from the India tour then it may enable him to play his first Sheffield Shield match in over six years, but even then Lee still wants the quick on the sub-continent so he can link up with his fellow statesmen.
The New South Wales trio of Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood played only their first match together during Australia's opening ODI match win over New Zealand, and Lee believes building a combination between the three fast bowlers would help Cummins in the long run.
“With those three back in the mix, we’re spoilt for talent aren’t we,” Lee said.
“Bowling in India you need a few things. Firstly you need patience and secondly you need to know your game better than anyone, including your captain.
“Hazlewood could be very effective because he bowls that stump to stump line and gets that extra bit of bounce.
“Cummins with his change of pace (would be dangerous) and Starc can blast them out with his pure pace.
“The only (mark against) Pat Cummins is because of the lack of cricket, but the only way to get him into cricket is to let him play.
“Put him on the tour, let him get that experience again and let him feel like he’s going to be part of this new team going forward.”