Australia skipper Pat Cummins is set to miss the third Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy to be with his mother who is seriously ill and in palliative care. The third Test is slated to start on March 5 in Indore and vice-captain Smith Smith will lead the side. Cummins left India and flew to Sydney a couple of hours later after losing the second Test. He was expected to return to India on the weekend to join the side but he has decided to remain with his family.
“I have decided against returning to India at this time as my mother is ill and in palliative care. I feel I am best being here with my family,” Cummins said. “I appreciate the overwhelming support I have received from Cricket Australia and my teammates. Thanks for your understanding.”
Australia are hoping Cummins will be back for the final Test in Ahmedabad. The 29-year-old was also named the captain for the three-match ODI series following the conclusion of the Tests, starting March 17. But it remains to be seen if he will return to India or not.
In his place, Steve Smith will captain the side. This is not the first time he will lead his team in Cummins’ absence as he has done the same twice. So it will be the third time Smith will take the leadership role since he was reinstated as vice-captain in 2021 after Cummins was given the job from Tim Paine.
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Ian Healy wants Pat Cummins to leave captaincy to focus on bowling
The Border-Gavaskar Trophy series was considered the real test for Pat Cummins as a captain. Prior to the India series, Australia had been formidable against teams like England, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and West Indies.
But knowing that Australia have never won a series since 2004, there was quite an excitement about whether the number one Test side will finally end their victory drought. But so far, only a one-sided match was witnessed in both the Tests as Aussie batters fell flat in front of the Indian spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja on brutal Indian turning tracks.
Tearaway pacer Cummins is intimidating in Australian conditions but he couldn’t produce much on the spin-friendly pitches. And that is why former Aussie skipper Ian Healy urged him to leave captaincy to focus on his fast-bowling skills.
“I don’t want him carrying the burden of so much captaincy for too long. I want him to finish (as just a bowler). The captaincy creates burnout and four to five is a long time as a captain,” Ian Healy said.
Cummins has played 49 Tests so far and has bagged 217 wickets at an average of 21.51, including eight five-wicket hauls. He scalped just three wickets in the two Tests and recently lost his number spot in ICC Men’s Test bowling ranking to England’s 40-year-old star pacer James Anderson.
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