Potential is a horrible word in the cricketing world.

Potential is a distant hope, a pipe-dream.

Potential is a curse. Unfortunately, Patrick Cummins was brandished it as soon as he started bowling thunderbolts.

Cummins was lauded as a leader of the Australian attack for years to come following his remarkable debut in Johannesburg, and rightly so.

But injuries have not been kind to Cummins, particularly stress fractures in his back, and getting any amount of game time has seemed impossible.

More terrible news came for the young New South Welshman today, ruled out of the upcoming Australia A tour against South Africa A.

Selector Rod Marsh admitted the rehabilitation from his latest bout of stress fractures is taking longer than expected.  The South African batsmen will be breathing a sigh of relief.

Just last month, bowling coach Ryan Harris explained how “frightening” the potential of Cummins still is, almost five years after his Test debut.

Despite not playing a Sheffield Shield match for five seasons, Cummins retained his Cricket Australia central contract for 2016, a decision that raised eyebrows. Cummins’ potential made it a worthwhile move.

You can understand where the selectors are coming from. In 18 ODIs, he has 33 wickets at an average of 25 and a half.

In 15 T20Is, he was 21 wickets and an economy of less than seven. These are outstanding numbers, perhaps even more so considering Cummins’ age and the sporadic nature of his appearances for his country.

He played three ODIs in 2011, two in 2012, two in 2014 and put together an encouraging string of 11 matches in 2015. He hasn’t played competitive cricket since September of last year, however.

Everyone in Australian cricket is hoping you get a good run of luck, Patty. Potentially, there’s no-one more deserving.

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