Sydney: Australian pace sensation Pat Cummins should not be rushed into the one-day squad for the upcoming tri-series even if he recovers in time from the heel injury as he needs to be kept 100 per cent fit for next summer, feels Cricket NSW chief executive David Gilbert.
Cummins had hurt his heel during the Test series in South Africa and was ruled out of the second Test against New Zealand after it aggravated during the win over the Kiwis at Brisbane. He is also not part of the series against India.
"There`s been two instances in March and then November where, you`ve got to say, (he`s been sidelined) due to overuse," said Gilbert, himself a former Test bowler whose career ended because of a ruptured disc in his lower back.
"In the Shield final last March we got to him in the nick of time. That could`ve been a very lengthy lay-off with a stress fracture in his back. Then, of course, there`s been this heel injury that has taken him away from this international summer.
"I don`t know whether he`s going to be back in time for the one-dayers but I ask myself why bother? Keep him 100 per cent right for next summer," he added.
Gilbert said Cummins is a special talent and needs to be handled sensibly.
"We have something very, very special on our hands and it makes it even more critical we do the right thing by him because he`s a 10 to 15 year investment for Australian cricket," he said.
Gilbert felt if Cummins exerts himself again, it might put him at risk of being injured.
"He had the winter off (after the Shield final) and got back into workload maintenance. He went to the Champions League and straight to South Africa, where he made his Test debut at Wanderers against South Africa.
"It does worry you that when he`s had big spells that we`ve had the back issue in the Shield final and the heel issue in South Africa. The more he`s exerted, the greater the risk he runs of being injured," Gilbert said.