Australian Test captain Pat Cummins will be missing the third Test against India beginning in Indore from March 1 as he will not be returning soon from Australia. Cummins, who was replaced as world No. 1 Test bowler by James Anderson earlier this week, flew back to Australia after his side lost the second Test in Delhi by six wickets due to his mother’s illness.
Former Australian skipper Steve Smith will take over the captaincy reins from Cummins at least for the third Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Cummins flew home to Sydney, explaining in a statement that his mother ‘is ill and in palliative care’.
JUST IN: Pat Cummins will remain in Australia and miss the third Test against India in Indore.
Steve Smith will captain Australia in his absence.#INDvAUS
— Nic Savage (@nic_savage1) February 24, 2023
There was a nine-day break between the second and third Tests of the BGT and it was expected that Cummins will be back in India for the Indore Test beginning next week. But Australia confirmed on Friday that Cummins would miss the Indore Test. They are keeping the door open for him to return for the fourth Test in Ahmedabad, but Smith could end up captaining in both the remaining matches.
“I have decided against returning to India at this time,” said Cummins. “I feel I am best being here with my family. I appreciate the overwhelming support I have received from Cricket Australia and my teammates. Thanks for your understanding.”
Smith has spent four days in Dubai with his wife Dani Willis following the second Test before re-joining the Australia squad in Delhi on Thursday evening, when he was informed of Cummins’ decision to remain at home for the next Test.
It will be the third time that Smith, who was stripped of his captaincy after the ‘Sandpaper Gate’ scandal, will be leading the Test side since his reinstatement as vice-captain in late 2021 when Cummins took over from Tim Paine. Smith has filled in as skipper for two Tests that Cummins has been unavailable for.
Smith has led Australia in 34 Tests between 2014 and 2018, including Australia’s most recent Test tour of India in 2017, which they lost but Smith dominated with the bat, scoring three centuries.
Australia are currently trailing India 0-2 in the four-match Test series for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. India have already retained the trophy after claiming an unassailable lead in the series.
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