Cricket Australia's Pat Howard has all but ruled out Pat Cummins featuring on February's Test tour of India, saying 'workhorses' have had sub-continent success.
A horses for courses approach looks set to keep Cricket Australia's prized thoroughbred Pat Cummins in the stable for February's Test tour of India.
Former Test quick Brett Lee had urged selectors to ditch the cotton wool and let fit-again Cummins "off the leash" in the upcoming four Test series on the sub-continent.
Lee was excited by speedster Cummins' eight wickets - including a career-best 4-41 - in Australia's recent 3-0 ODI series win against New Zealand, his first games for his country in 15 months.
CA high performance manager Pat Howard said Cummins' Test return had come down to India or next summer's Ashes.
The 23-year-old played his sole Test in November 2011.
And it seems the prospect of an injury-plagued Cummins toiling away on the sub-continent does not appeal to selectors.
Howard said "workhorses" had been successful with the ball in India in the past, all but drawing a line through the fast but fragile Cummins.
"You look back at the sort of bowlers and combinations needed for that tour," Howard said of Cummins' India tour chances.
"Jason Gillespie was our most successful bowler of the 2004 tour.
"You have to look at the strike bowler or the workhorse."
Besides, Howard hinted that time had already run out for Cummins to tour India.
"There's the decision between whether or not it is India or the Ashes," Howard told ABC Radio.
"And before that you'd need one or two Shield games to be get back in."
The Shield competition has taken a break until February to cater for the Big Bash League.
Howard said Cummins would be further eased back through Australia's upcoming five game one-day series against Pakistan next month via the BBL with the Sydney Thunder.
"We are taking it series by series," Howard said of Cummins' international future.
Meanwhile, Howard tried to allay the fears of another recovering quick - James Pattinson.
Fiery fast bowler Pattinson said this week that he was worried about returning too soon from a back injury to the Test team with the India tour on the horizon.
The 26-year-old has not played since suffering the injury against New Zealand in February.
"He makes a real difference," Howard said of Pattinson.
"But we have a duty of care to look after him.
"And our conversations with Cummins and Pattinson are about the long game."