Perth Scorchers are privately seething over Cricket Australia's rigid injury management strategy for young quick Pat Cummins as they prepare to face Sydney Sixers tomorrow night without national one-day squad members Nathan Coulter-Nile and Shaun Marsh.
The Scorchers were understood to be keen on selecting the 20-year-old for the match at the SCG after he made a successful return from a back injury in grade cricket at the weekend.
However those plans were overruled by CA, which would prefer Cummins play at least one more game in grade ranks before returning to the Big Bash League.
The Scorchers flew to Sydney yesterday with Ryan Duffield and Hilton Cartwright replacing Marsh and Coulter-Nile in the 13-man squad.
Scorchers coach Justin Langer admitted the decision to hold Cummins back was not ideal given the loss of Coulter-Nile and a niggling back injury to Alfonso Thomas. But as a nationally contracted player the decision to declare him fit was not theirs to make.
He said they remained hopeful the paceman would be available for next week's home game against Adelaide.
"We've got to get the clearance from Cricket Australia, when we get the clearance from Cricket Australia he's raring to go," Langer said.
"He feels fit, he feels like he's ready to go, we're just sticking to the CA rehab program and hopefully he'll be right to play next Thursday at the WACA.
"Of course it's frustrating but we've got to respect that Cricket Australia has a huge medical team now and they've got Pat Cummins' interests at heart.
"It can be frustrating but it's the business we're in and we deal with it."
Cummins was thrust into the spotlight in late 2011 after being named man of the match in his Test debut, taking 6-79 in the second innings and hitting the winning runs against South Africa as an 18-year-old.
He has battled injuries ever since and despite being on the Scorchers roster for two seasons has yet to debut.
CA said the young quick was still on track to play the back-end of the BBL season.
"Pat Cummins is a CA contracted player coming back from a serious injury and his return to cricket is being carefully managed," a spokes- woman said.
"We are hopeful that Pat will return as planned to his BBL club in the coming weeks."
It is not the first time CA has preferred grade cricket to T20 for their injured speedsters, with Test bowler and former Melbourne Stars squad member James Pattinson held back from a BBL semifinal against the Scorchers last season for the same reason.
It was a situation which caused then Stars captain Shane Warne to open fire at the national set-up, saying T20 was a better choice for players on the comeback trail.
"We're not allowed to play Pattinson because it's too intense, T20 cricket, but he's allowed to play eight hours of grade cricket with no help," Warne said.
"Anyone with half a brain or common sense will know that playing in a semifinal against good opposition for four overs is actually better for you than playing eight overs of grade cricket and standing out there for seven hours."