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Pat Cummins ruled out of IPL 2018 with back injury

Cummins was Australia's best bowler in the series against South Africa.

Pat Cummins, the Australian paceman, has been ruled out of the Indian Premier League (IPL) with a back injury. In a blow for the Mumbai Indians, the 24-year-old will miss the tournament after a heavy workload during the past year, where he played 13 consecutive Tests.

Cummins is the third casualty from the gruelling Test series in South Africa with fellow quicks Mitchell Starc and Kagiso Rabada already ruled out of the IPL. Apart from the three pacers, South African skipper Faf du Plessis is also recovering from a finger injury and a side strain and is set to miss Chennai Super Kings' second game of the tournament after sitting out against Mumbai Indians on Saturday.

David Beakley, Australia's physiotherapist, said Cummins experienced back issues in South Africa last week and could miss out on Australia's next assignment - a limited-overs series against England in June.

"Pat experienced some back soreness during the fourth Test in South Africa," he said in a statement on Tuesday (April 10). "Follow-up scans have confirmed that he has bone oedema in his vertebrae. It is important that Pat has time off bowling, to prevent the injury becoming more serious and consequently we have made the decision to rule Pat out of the IPL.

"Pat will now undergo a period of recovery and rehabilitation and we will look to re-scan him in a few weeks to assess the healing," he added. "Following this we will be in a better position to decide on Pat's return to play timeline including participation in the limited overs tour of the UK."

Cricket Australia have been careful with Cummins after a litany of injuries ravaged him following his memorable Test debut in November 2011. The NSW quick finally made his Test comeback on the tour of India last year and has been spectacular since.

Cummins bowled 447.5 overs across all formats since the start of the last Australian summer and was the team's best performer during the ill-fated tour of South Africa, where he claimed 22 wickets at an average of 21 to stamp himself as the talisman of the attack.

Australia's brains trust will be hopeful of Cummins being fit and firing for their next Test assignment against Pakistan in the UAE in October. Weakened without suspended trio Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, Australia can ill-afford to lose Cummins.

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