Cummins appears unlikely for fourth Test in India
Australia captain Pat Cummins appears set to remain in Sydney ahead of the fourth and final Test against India in Ahmedabad.
Cummins returned to Australia after Australia's second Test loss in Delhi to be with his seriously ill mother Maria, who has entered palliative care.
Steve Smith stepped in as skipper for the third time since Cummins became Test captain in November 2021 for Australia's famous nine-wicket win in Indore this week.
The team checked in with Cummins after the memorable victory at Holkar Stadium on Friday, as Australia celebrated just their second Test win on Indian soil in 19 years.
Australia will fly to Ahmedabad on Monday ahead of the fourth Test beginning at the 132,000-seat capacity Narendra Modi Stadium on Thursday.
"There were exchanges going there (between players and Cummins on Friday)," Australia coach Andrew McDonald said on Saturday.
"He's obviously dealing with what he's dealing with at home but he's still so invested in this group.
"Our thoughts are still with him and his family at this difficult time.
"We're in constant contact with him daily, so at the moment he's not here and the Test match is a few days away, so we'll discuss with Pat on a daily basis."
McDonald was pleased with how Australia fought back following their humiliating defeats in Nagpur and Delhi.
The series might not be winnable at 2-1, but Australia locked in their spot in the World Test Championship final in June by winning in Indore.
"On the back of Delhi, we had one hour of chaos there and that cost us that Test match when we'd played pretty good cricket across that game," McDonald said.
"We had an hour in this Test match as well where we lost 6-11, which could have easily thrown the game back into India's control, but the way we have gone about it is the way we have wanted to go about it the whole time.
"We've probably just chose the wrong moment to press and that's cost us at times."
Australia will not get another opportunity at winning a Test series in India until 2027, when a core group of players, like Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon, are unlikely to still be playing.
But McDonald is confident this tour, as tough as it has been at times, will set up the next team to enjoy success in Indian conditions.
"Everyone's journey starts at some point in the subcontinent and I think there's a core group of players that will come back here more experienced, and in theory, better equipped for the challenges," McDonald said.
"We're talking about a series here where we've had certain conditions that probably aren't relatable to any other subcontinent tour over time, so it's always a different challenge when you do arrive here."