Pat Cummins to miss fourth Test against India to be with sick mother
The Aussie captain will remain in Sydney by his seriously ill mother's side.
Pat Cummins has ruled himself out of Australia's fourth and final Test against India after returning home to be with his ailing mother. The Aussie cricket side is flying to Ahmedabad on Monday, where they will prepare for the fourth Test at the 132,000-seat capacity Narendra Modi Stadium, which gets underway on Thursday.
Australia has a chance to tie the series 2-2 after celebrating just their second Test win on Indian soil in 19 years by taking out the third Test in Indore. Aussie skipper Cummins played no part in the match after he flew home to Sydney to be by the side of his seriously ill mother Maria, who has entered palliative care.
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Steve Smith stood in as skipper for the third time since Cummins became Test captain in November 2021, and helped guide the Aussies to a nine-wicket win in Indore. And the star batter will do so again for the final Test, with coach Andrew McDonald revealing the team has been in constant contact with their missing skipper.
"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."
While Smith took control of the Aussie side with distinction in Cummins' absence, the 33-year-old insists he has no desire to take over the captaincy role full-time. Cummins' field placements and bowling changes were criticised by Aussie greats Mark Waugh and Michael Clarke during the first two Tests, while Ian Healy also suggested the quick would be better stepping down as skipper to focus on his bowling.
However, Smith poured cold water on suggestions he should be reinstated to the captaincy position he held until the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in 2018. Smith says while he's relished the opportunity to captain Australia again in India, the team is united under Cummins.
"My time as captain is done. This is Patty's team," Smith said. This isn't to say the tactically astute batter didn't enjoy his time.
“There’s an event every ball … it’s a lot different to the other parts of the world. I think I did a reasonable job this week.”
Steve Smith set to lead Australia in Fourth Test in Ahmedabad, Pat Cummins gonna miss the game.#INDvAUS #BGT2023 pic.twitter.com/ROZLfjTHsb
— Dr. Cric Point 🏏 (@drcricpoint) March 4, 2023
Good for Australia. Steve Smith knows how to use the spinners well. Should have captained the first test two match as well. If India needs to win the next match our top order needs to step up, especially Virat. Being a senior batsman hasn't scored any impactful innings so far.
— Philips (@vasanthsk2) March 5, 2023
During last Indian tour Smith won pune test and lost remaining, he won indore but will lost in ahmedabad
— Satish Pawar (@Satishpawaar) March 5, 2023
Bad News For India 😞 pic.twitter.com/egkd758phJ
— Oggy 💙 (@SirOggyBilla) March 5, 2023
He should be permanent captain of Australia, he has got a great cricketing brain .
— vikkas (@viks15680) March 5, 2023
Aussies aiming to level series at 2-2
Australia already lost the series after chastening defeats in the first two Tests, but bounced back superbly in the third to seal their spot in June's World Test Championship final at The Oval in London. Avoiding a series clean sweep defeat was the only way of securing their spot in the final and McDonald is proud of the character his side showed in order to do so in the third Test.
"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 Smith, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon, are unlikely to still be playing.
McDonald is confident that despite the challenges the Aussie side has faced on this tour, the adversity and steep learning curves have set up the next crop of Aussie stars to enjoy future success in India. "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."
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