With Pat Cummins staying at home due to death of his mother Maria last week, batter Steve Smith will continue to lead Australia in their three-match ODI series against India, which will start on March 17 onwards.
Cummins left the tour after second Test in Delhi and Smith lead the side in the remaining two matches. From being 2-0 down, Australia managed to win the third Test in Indore and draw the final Test in Ahmedabad. India won the series 2-1. “Our thoughts are with Pat and his family as they go through that grieving process,” head coach Andrew McDonald said as quoted by ESPNCricinfo.
There is no replacement for Cummins in the squad. Nathan Ellis was called up as a replacement for Jhye Richardson, who suffered another recurrence of his hamstring injury.
With Smith in charge, Australia will have four captains in their last five ODIs. Aaron Finch retired after series against New Zealand and Cummins was named as his successor. But he was rested for the second match against England in November and Josh Hazlewood led the side in that match. But Hazlewood is not an option for leadership currently as he is ruled out of the series due to an Achillies injury.
Smith has captained Australia in a total of 51 ODIs.
Leaving aside the absence of quick bowlers, Australia have selected a full-strength squad for the series against India, with an aim to prepare for 50-over World Cup, which will be held in October-November this year. Australia also has ODIs against South Africa before they select their WC squad.
The squad is all-rounder heavy and Australia will continue to explore team balance with them. On number of occasions last year, Australia had deep batting lineups with Cameron Green or Glenn Maxwell batting at number 8.
“We have got a couple conversations around the balance of the team we want to play,” McDonald said.
“We have gone in with a structure with eight batters to bat a little bit deeper, we have tried that. So there will be a mix of combinations as we lead into the World Cup. A lot of allrounders [have been] picked in the squad and they can all play in the one team. So we have got to answer a few of those questions,” added the coach.
Maxwell is returning to the side after suffering a freak leg injury last November. A cautious approach is likely to be taken with him. David Warner is fit once again after suffering an elbow injury during the Test series against India and Mitchell Marsh is also in line to return from an ankle surgery which disrupted his home season following T20 World Cup 2022.
Ashton Agar is also back in India after a fall down the pecking order among the Test spinners. He made a statement by taking 5 for 64 for Western Australia in the recent Marsh Cup final.
Australia ODI squad vs India David Warner, Travis Head, Steven Smith (capt), Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey, Glenn Maxwell, Cameron Green, Josh Inglis, Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Ellis, Adam Zampa.