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Australia captain Pat Cummins has given every indication he will be fit for this year’s ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup by declaring his injured wrist is recovering well and he is on track to return prior to the six-week tournament in India.
Cummins fractured his wrist while batting during the final Ashes Test against England at The Oval last month and was initially diagnosed to be sidelined for up to six weeks ahead of Australia’s first game at the World Cup against hosts India on October 8.
But Cummins has allayed any fears that he will be battling to prove his fitness prior to that clash, with the fast bowler aiming to travel to South Africa next month to join up with his teammates during their five-match series against the Proteas and then return to playing during the three-game series against India at the end of September.
“I’ll head over to South Africa at the back-end of that leg,” Cummins was quoted as saying by ICC. “But we’re probably looking more at those one-dayers (against India) ahead of the World Cup. It shouldn’t be too bad. Another few weeks and it (his wrist) will be right.”
Australia are the only team to have announced their squad for this year’s World Cup so far, with the five-time champions showing their hand early when releasing a preliminary 18-player squad for the tournament earlier this month.
That squad will need to be reduced to 15 prior to the cut-off date on September 28, but Cummins was named captain of the side and is certain to lead Australia into battle at the World Cup should his wrist injury heal in time.
But just who captains the side during the South Africa series remains unclear, with chief selector George Bailey recently indicating that the captaincy might be shared around during the five matches in the absence of Cummins.
Steve Smith, Josh Hazlewood and Alex Carey all have experience captaining Australia’s 50-over side previously, while all-rounder Mitchell Marsh is also in the mix after he was recently named as skipper for the T20I portion of the South Africa tour.
Cummins threw his support behind the appointment of Marsh and believes the in-form 31-year-old is a natural leader that can prosper in the role on a long-term basis if awarded more captaincy roles.
“The good thing is we’ve got a few options (for South Africa),” Cummins posed.
“But (Marsh) is probably the most obvious one if he’s doing the T20s as well.
“He’s always been a huge member of the team, a real leader.
“As a captain, that’s what you want, a guy that’s going out there, taking the game on, someone we can all get behind.
“Off the field, he’s just a great people-person. His energy’s infectious, he’s great to hang around with, always good fun.”
Australia’s preliminary World Cup squad: Pat Cummins (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Aaron Hardie, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Tanveer Sangha, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa.