Why Lillee had ‘no doubt’ Cummins would recover from early injury worries

Australian cricketer Dennis Lillee was never concerned that Pat Cummins’ career could be seriously hampered by his early injury struggles.

Cummins was hampered by numerous injuries not long after his Test debut as an 18-year-old, with stress fractures in his heel and back threatening to heartbreakingly curtail a would-be superstar’s career.

But with the help of legendary fast bowler Lillee, Cummins was able to change his technique and recover from debilitating injuries.

With Cummins now the current captain of Australia’s Test and ODI squads, Lillee showed he was always confident he would do his best again.

“I’ve been involved a lot with Pat and his rehab, rearranging him and helping him direct his action back to something that was protected rather than leaving him open to the injuries he suffered early in his career, very early on in his career, had occurred for four years or so,” Lillee said SEN morning.

“He was sensational in his first friendly and you don’t lose talent, so no, I had no doubts at all and he didn’t seem to have any, by the way.

“We’ve spent a lot of time together and he’s been responsive and worked really hard and you can see the results.

“If you’re that good at 18, you’ll never lose it, it doesn’t matter if you get hurt.”

Lillee credits his own struggles with injuries with his ability to help others with their health.

“It’s kind of my cricket involvement since I retired, because I had massive back problems and three fractures in my spine myself at a young age, I had to recover from that,” he said.

“I knew the process and I studied and worked a lot on it and in the end I was fortunate to be able to help 90 percent or more of the guys that come through with injury problems.

“Most of them were either in their fitness and strength components…or mostly because of their action that their action had some glitches and it was little things that needed changing.

“Those changes often come from somewhere up front, which took me a lot of time, but now that I’ve figured that out I find it pretty easy to fix these guys as long as they’re putting in the hard work.”

Lillee, who is almost 40 years after his retirement, admits he doesn’t “watch much cricket” these days and despite his love for the game believes the one-day format is on the way out.

“I do (enjoy T20 cricket), I’m not sure about the One Day (matches), I think that’s gone a bit flat, a bit predictable, but I love test matches, I love everything, but I love the T20 game,” he said.

“Something has to give, that’s my opinion, I would say (One Day Cricket is) what can give, hopefully Test Cricket and twenty stays twenty.”

The Australia squad are off to an ODI series win over England with a friendly against the West Indies next on the calendar starting on 30 November.


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