Jason Gillespie makes sad call for Pat Cummins not to return to India
The Aussie cricket great has opened up on the sad situation facing Pat Cummins and his family.
Aussie cricket great Jason Gillespie has called on Pat Cummins to stay in Australia for the remainder of the Test series in India so he can spend more time with his mother. The Aussie captain flew home from the subcontinent after the second Test, citing a serious illness in the family.
On Thursday he revealed that his mother is in palliative care and he won't be returning to India for the third Test, starting on Wednesday. Cummins' availability for the fourth Test is also under a cloud, but Gillespie believes he shouldn't feel any pressure to return.
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Gillespie told ABC Sport on Saturday that if he was the coach, he'd be telling Cummins to stay at home and spend as much time with his mum as possible. "It wouldn't surprise me if we didn't see him on this tour [again]," Gillespie told Summer Grandstand.
"If I was in charge, I'd probably just say to him, 'stay at home'. With all due respect, the series is gone, we can't win the series, there's series coming up this year … moving forward, it might just be a really good opportunity for Pat Cummins to spend important time, precious time, with close family and friends.
"What's more important, spending time with your close family and friends and particularly your mum who's gravely ill, or the fourth Test of a series that you've already lost? He's already missing the third Test, for me it's an absolute no-brainer.
"It wouldn't surprise me if behind the scenes they've already said to Pat, 'we don't need you here in India for this Test series'. Be a son. Be a brother, just be around your family. Family is the No.1 thing."
India hold an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series and have already retained the Border-Gavaskar trophy. However all is not lost for the Aussies, who still need one more win to secure their place in this year's World Test Championship final. If Australia are swept 4-0 by India and Sri Lanka win both Tests against the Black Caps in New Zealand next month, Sri Lanka will make the final instead of Australia.
Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Travis Head said Cummins had the full support of his teammates. "We fully expect him to be at home. Life's a bigger thing than cricket. It's more important for him to be at home than be here."
Calls for Pat Cummins to give up Test captaincy
Steve Smith will lead the Aussies in Cummins' absence - the third time he will do so since Cummins took over the captaincy ahead of the Ashes in 2021. Mitchell Starc will almost certainly come back into the XI in place of Cummins after missing the first two Tests due to a finger injury, while Cameron Green is also expected to play and bat at No.6, with Head remaining at the top of the order after David Warner flew home due to a fractured elbow he suffered in the second Test.
Cummins' captaincy has come under fire a number of times during the series in India, with Michael Clarke and Mark Waugh both criticising his tactics in the second Test. On Friday, Ian Healy made the staggering call that he'd like to see Cummins give up the Test captaincy and focus on his bowling.
“I don’t want him carrying the burden of so much captaincy for too long,” Healy said on SEN radio. “I want him to finish (as just a bowler)."
“The captaincy creates a burnout and four to five years is a long time as a captain. He’s done a few years already, now he’s adding (short-form captaincy) to his thought processes at a time when he’s dealing with some sort of family illness back home. So yeah, I would like to see him finish his career as a tearaway fast bowler and someone else with the captaincy burden.”
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