Melbourne, Dec 7: Australia were on Wednesday dealt a blow ahead of the much-awaited four-Test series against India as teen pace sensation Pat Cummins was ruled out for "most" of the matches due to a heel injury.
The 18-year-old picked up the injury during his seven-wicket haul on debut against South
Africa in Johannesburg last month.
Initially the injury was thought to be not too serious and he was expected to be back in action for the opening Test against India here starting December 26 but fresh scans have revealed that he might be sidelined until mid-January.
"The medical staff took a decision that Patrick's recovery versus previous scans did not seem consistent and proactively made the decision that further scans were required," Cricket Australia General Manager Pat Howard said.
"These scans have revealed a bone stress injury which pushes out his recovery by a few weeks. This wasn't picked up in the initial scans done in South Africa. Unfortunately this, when combined with Patrick's young age to prepare for Test cricket, means that he will miss much of the Indian series.
"Whilst unfortunate for Pat, this presents an opportunity for other players which was evident in Brisbane and we will continue to support players to have those quality opportunities," he added.
Cummins said he has no choice but to wait for the injury to heal before starting bowling again.
"Obviously it's disappointing but hopefully, it doesn't make too much of a difference," he said.
Cummins was acclaimed as Australia's newest pace bowling star when he captured six for 79 in South Africa's second innings to set up an exciting two-wicket win in the Johannesburg Test last month.
But he has not played since and was rested from last week's first Test win against New Zealand at the Gabba.
The youngster's setback continues to drain Australia's fast bowling stocks following Mitchell Johnson's foot surgery last week which will sideline the left-armer for five months.