IND vs AUS: Steve Smith likely to lead Australia in the 4th test with Cummins not returning to India

Toby Marshall
4 March 2023
Pat Cummins, the captain of Australia

Pat Cummins, the captain of Australia, is unlikely to participate in the remaining matches of the Test series against India after returning home to care for his ailing mother Maria Cummins. Cummins made the decision to return to Australia after Australia’s second Test loss in Delhi to be with his seriously ill mother Maria, who has entered palliative care.

The first two matches of the Test series against India were not up to the mark for Kangaroos captain Pat Cummins. While he didn’t show anything amazing with the ball, his strategy as a captain also came under criticism.

Whereas in his absence, when Steve Smith was given the responsibility of captaincy in the third Test match, he performed exceptionally well, leading Australia to a stunning nine-wicket triumph in Indore. As a result, Steve Smith took over as captain for the third time since Pat Cummins took over as Test captain in November 2021.

The team spoke with Pat Cummins following Australia’s remarkable triumph at the Holkar Stadium on Friday, their first on Indian soil in 19 years, and offered him their support during this difficult time.

Australia is scheduled to travel to Ahmedabad on Monday in preparation for the fourth Test, which is set to begin on Thursday at the Narendra Modi Stadium with a seating capacity of 132,000.

Andrew McDonald, the head coach of Australia, acknowledged that Pat Cummins is currently dealing with a personal matter, but despite being away, he remains invested in the team. The team is in constant contact with him, and McDonald emphasized that their thoughts are with Cummins and his family during this difficult time. They plan to discuss with him on a daily basis leading up to the Test match.

After the two Test matches, Australia and India are slated to play three one-day internationals, which are critical for Australia’s preparation for the ODI World Cup later this year. While Cummins is currently unavailable due to his personal situation, Steve Smith will continue to captain the team for the remaining matches.

Smith has no long-term captaincy ambitions

After leading Australia to a nine-wicket victory in the third Test against India, Steve Smith stated that he has no intention of returning as the full-time captain of the team. Smith previously served as captain from 2014 to 2018 but was stripped of the title following a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.

“My time as captain is done. It’s Pat’s team now,” said the former Australian captain.

In the absence of Pat Cummins, who has missed three Tests over the past 18 months, Smith has stepped up as captain and led the team to victory in all three Tests. However, Smith has made it clear that he sees the team as Cummins’ responsibility now.

Despite this, Smith expressed his enjoyment of captaining in the sub-continent and his understanding of the conditions and intricacies of the game. “It’s probably my favourite place in the world to captain,” Smith said during the post-match presentation.

Author Toby Marshall