Australia captain Pat Cummins will be absent from the third India-Australia Test Match, set to take place in Indore from 1 March, according to cricket.com.au's report on Friday. Following his team's six-wicket loss in the second Test of the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy in New Delhi, Cummins has returned to Australia due to a "serious family illness".
It has been reported that Cummins' mother is in palliative care, prompting the cricketer to forgo his return to India for the third Test.
“I have decided against returning to India at this time,” Cummins was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au. “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.”
In Cummins' absence, vice-captain Steve Smith will assume the leadership role in the Indore Test. This will be the third time Smith has captained Australia since his reinstatement as vice-captain in 2021. Overall, Smith has captained Australia in 36 matches, with 34 of them occurring during the 2014-18 period prior to the ball-tampering scandal.
It remains unclear whether Cummins will return to India at a later date. He has also been appointed captain of the ODI squad for the upcoming series in India. On the bowling front, Australia have Scott Boland and Lance Morris as pacers in the Test squad, and Mitchell Starc is expected to be fully recovered from his finger injury in time for the Indore match.
Josh Hazlewood has been ruled out of the entire tour due to an Achilles tendon injury. This unfortunate setback has been a major blow to the Australian team, who had been hoping to make a comeback in the series. Hazlewood's absence has left a gaping hole in the team's lineup, and they will have to find a way to fill it if they are to have any chance of turning the series around.
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