Steve Smith to lead Australia in the third test at Indore in the absence of Pat Cummins | INDvAUS

Pat Cummins will not be available for Australia in the third test against India in Indore. Photo: Debasis Sen

Xtra Time Web Desk: Steve Smith will lead Australia for the third test match against India in Indore as Pat Cummins will not be available. Cummins will not return to India as his mother “is ill and in palliative care”. Australian team management is keeping the door open for Cummins to join the squad for the fourth and final test at Ahmedabad.

“I have decided against returning to India at this time. I feel I am best being here with my family,” said Cummins.

Smith spent four days in Dubai with his wife Dani following the second Test before re-joining the Australia squad in Delhi on Thursday evening, when he was informed of Cummins’ decision to remain at home for the next Test. The rest of the Australian team members were informed about Cummins unavailability at the team’s training session at the Arun Jaitley Stadium on Friday morning. The Aussies are training in the Indian capital for two more days before flying to Indore on Sunday.

It will be the third time Smith has led the Test side since his reinstatement as vice-captain in late 2021 when Cummins took over from Tim Paine. Smith has filled in as skipper for two Tests that Cummins has been unavailable for – both of which have been in Adelaide over the past two summers. 

Smith has captained Australia for 34 Tests between 2014 and 2018, including Australia’s most recent Test tour of India in 2017, a controversy-marred campaign which Smith dominated with the bat, scoring three centuries. But so far in this series he had failed to get going, scoring only 71 runs from four innings at an average of 23.66.