Pat Cummins bowls during a training session in Centurion ahead of the first one-day international against South Africa recently.
Pat Cummins bowls during a training session in Centurion ahead of the first one-day international against South Africa recently. ALEXANDER JOE

Young guns sidelined

AUSTRALIA'S new bowling sensation Patrick Cummins has the world at his feet.

Making his Test debut against South Africa recently, the New South Wales quick produced a match-winning 6-79.

The 18-year-old is the youngest fast bowler to wear the baggy green but unfortunately for the Aussies, Cummins will miss this week's Test against New Zealand due to a heel injury.

He joins senior quicks Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris and all-rounder Shane Watson in the pace bowling casualty ward.

Under Cricket Australia guidelines, young fast bowlers are restricted to the amount of overs they can bowl to avoid long term injuries.

But is it working?

At a local level, Coutts Crossing and Australian under-19 representative pace bowler Brad Chard's workload is limited in the Premier League.

The Coutts Crossing spearhead can only send down 20 overs in an innings with eight-overs maximum per spell.

And after bowling eight straight, Chard is required to rest for a further 16-overs before rolling his arm over again.

Chard and Cummins are both aged 18 but in the Test against the Proteas, Cummins sent down 264 deliveries or 46 overs in total. It appears at Test and state level, bowling restrictions do not apply.

Coutts Crossing captain Ken Willis admitted young fast bowlers need to be managed properly but he added the rules need to be modified

"I've said it for years since the ruling came in. I agree with it in principle but they need to look at how it is set up," Willis said.

"Chardy can bowl eight overs than his sits off for double that plus one. He can't bowl again until another 16-overs plus one more.

"Brad doesn't even break into a sweat after eight overs. I think it could be a bit higher or allow them to come back sooner.

"Sitting off for 16 overs is just ridiculous."

According to Willis, having a promising fast bowler in your side can be a distinct disadvantage.

"It takes a lot of guess work out of the opposition," he said.

"Their opening batsmen know they only have to survive eight overs and Brad's off and can't bowl again for 16 overs.

"To a certain extent you can play your innings around it.".

The Coutts' skipper added his side was not as hard done by as some sides in the Premier League with plenty of bowling options at his disposal

"I suppose we're lucky in some respects we've got a couple of fellows who are 19 and can bowl as many overs as they want," Willis said. "It would make things a lot harder if you had two young quick bowlers in your side."

NSW Cricket Umpires' education and development manager Darren Goodger said there are different rules for certain competitions.

"It comes down to the playing conditions for a particular competition," Goodger said.

"For instance in Sydney grade cricket, a medium pace or fast bowler aged under-19 is limited to eight overs and then has to have a spell for 60 minutes.

"In international matches, there is no reference in playing conditions to restrict under-age bowlers.

"It's not compulsory for associations to adopt certain recommendations but it is advised for them to implement them."

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