Pat Cummins has been rushed over to India as Mitchell Starc’s replacement, with the express paceman’s long wait in Test wilderness set to end on Thursday.
Cummins hasn’t played a Test since making his debut at age 18 in 2011, when he was named man of the match after delivering Australia a dramatic victory in Johannesburg.
The right-armer has spent most of the time since on the sidelines because of a run of debilitating injuries.
Cummins came close to donning the baggy green during the 2015 Ashes, but broke down soon after.
Selectors and Cricket Australia (CA) medicos, who have often restricted Cummins to white-ball cricket in his various returns from injury, are finally satisfied the young gun is ready for the rigours of another Test.
Cummins has just completed his first Sheffield Shield match in six years and is poised to play Australia’s third Test against India, which starts in Ranchi on Thursday.
Selectors may opt to recall Jackson Bird, the only other quick in the touring party, but Cummins is more of a like-for-like replacement because of his added pace.
“In selecting Pat, we were looking for a strike bowling replacement option,” chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns said.
“Pat has impressed in his return to cricket this summer with consistent performances in his ODI, Twenty20 International and Big Bash matches.
“He has also had a very good Sheffield Shield return for NSW.”
Cummins grabbed hauls of 4-47 and 4-57 in the first-class match that finished on Friday.
The 23-year-old will link up with the Test squad in Bangalore on Saturday night.
CA had told the 23-year-old earlier this summer to focus on making his Test comeback in the 2017/18 Ashes, but Starc’s stress fracture in his right foot quickly changed the conversation.
Injured paceman Peter Siddle indicated it would be a risk summoning Cummins or James Pattinson to India.
“There’s not a lot of cricket this winter, so if anything does go wrong there’s not much missed,” Siddle told Fox Sports.
“But if it’s a big injury then it’s a lot to take in.”
“Jimmy and Patty have played a fair bit of cricket now, just not as much as they would have liked to probably be comfortable to go over there and perform.
“They’re not super underdone, but they’re probably not at the point where they’re ready for Test level,” he said.
“But those guys will definitely stand up if the opportunity arises.”