Pat Cummins will miss Australia’s third Test against India to remain with his ailing mother in Sydney… with Steve Smith to manage the team for the third time since losing the captaincy in the Sandpapergate scandal
Australia captain Pat Cummins will remain in Sydney and will miss the third Test against India to be with his seriously ill mother.
Cummins flew home to Australia on Sunday night, immediately after the team’s second test loss to India in Delhi, to be close to his family.
The 29-year-old briefed manager Andrew McDonald on Thursday night of his decision to remain in Australia, with the rest of the squad briefed in training on Friday morning.
‘I have decided not to return to India at this time as my mother is ill and in palliative care. I feel like I’m better off here with my family,” Cummins said.
‘I am grateful for the overwhelming support I have received from Cricket Australia and my teammates. Thank you for your understanding.’
Pat Cummins will miss the third Test of Australia’s series against India to remain in Sydney with his mother, who is receiving hospice care
Australia are 2-0 down in the series after losing in Nagpur and Delhi this month
Cummins is aiming to be available for the fourth and final Test in Ahmedabad, but it is possible he will miss out on the rest of the series.
The star fast bowler was expected to return to India on the Friday ahead of the third Test at Indore starting on 1 March.
However, Cummins’ family situation will prevent him from making the return journey, with Steve Smith to fill the captaincy.
It will be the third time Smith has taken over as Test captain since Cummins became captain in November 2021.
Cummins was forced to sit out the two most recent pink ball matches in Adelaide against England & West Indies due to COVID-19 and injury.
Smith left the Australian camp in Delhi for a short break in Dubai with wife Dani and returned to the Indian capital on Thursday night.
Cummins’ absence is another blow to Australia’s hopes of winning at least one Test in this series to secure their place in the World Test Championship final.
Fast bowler Josh Hazlewood and veteran opener David Warner were sent home with Achilles tendon and elbow injuries respectively, while all-round bowler Ashton Agar struggled with form and consistency during the tour and returned to Western Australia to play against the Sheffield Shield.
The versatile Cameron Green is ready to play his first Test of the series at Indore after overcoming a broken finger suffered at the MCG in December.
Green will likely come on for Matt Renshaw and bat at No. 6, with Travis Head remaining opener in Warner’s place after a cameo during the second round in Delhi.
Steve Smith will replace Cummins as captain for the third Test at Indore
Smith has served as substitute captain for Starc twice before, against England in Adelaide during the 2021-22 Ashes series and against the West Indies in December last year (above).
Fast star Mitchell Starc will almost certainly fill the void left by Cummins after the 33-year-old missed the first two Tests against India with a broken finger.
Victorian paceman Scott Boland could also be recalled after dropping out of the XI following his appearance in the series opener at Nagpur.
Australia opted to play three spinners – Nathan Lyon, Todd Murphy and Matt Kuhnemann – and choose Cummins as their only recognized fast in Delhi.
Green fought for over an hour in training in Delhi on Friday, declaring himself ‘ready’ for his first test in India.
Initially, it was feared that Green’s bowling would take longer to come back after sustaining the injury, but it is only now that the 23-year-old is feeling comfortable batting.
All-rounder Cameron Green declared himself fit for the third Test after missing the first two Tests in Nagpur and Delhi with a finger injury
Green suffered a number of minor setbacks as he batted into the nets ahead of the second Test, with Australia taking no risks with their future superstar.
“It’s been really good the last two weeks, I have a lot of confidence in that,” Green said on Friday.
‘Unfortunately, it’s been a little slower than probably what I expected, going back out there and putting my skills to zero.
‘That’s just the nature of cricket and injuries, you can never really rush these things (…) I’m happy with the process I went through.’