New Delhi, Feb 24 (PTI): Australia skipper Pat Cummins has opted out of the third Test against India due to family emergency and his deputy Steve Smith will lead the side in the contest, starting March 1 in Indore.
Cummins had flown back home after Australia lost the second Test by six wickets inside three days, last week.
According to cricket.com.au, “The family emergency that saw Pat Cummins dash back to Australia after the second Test will see the fast bowler remain at home for next week’s third match.”
The Australian skipper’s mother “is ill and in palliative care”, according to media reports.
It was expected that Cummins would come back and rejoin the squad before the third Test but now there is a possibility that he could skip even the fourth Test.
It will be the third time that Smith will lead Australia in Tests since he was reinstated as vice-captain in 2021 after Cummins took over from Tim Paine.
Smith had gone to Dubai with his wife Dani after the second Test and re-joined the Australia squad in Delhi on Thursday evening.
Australian team is still training at the Ferozshah Kotla Stadium and will leave for Indore on Sunday.
All-rounder Cameron Green, whose absence due to a fractured finger badly hurt the balance of the Australian side in the first two games, is fit and likely to play the third Test at the Holkar Stadium.
Green’s return would give Australia a second seam-bowling option. Cummins was the sole quick in Delhi.
“When you come in as an all-rounder, you might be able to help out with team balance maybe a little bit,” Green told reporters in Delhi on Friday.
“It will be interesting to see which way the selectors go for this game.”
Senior pacer Mitchell Starc is also expected to be available and could be a direct replacement for Cummins in the playing XI.