India vs Australia 2017: Pat Cummins to fly back home after the ODI series
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Aussie pacer Pat Cummins will miss the three-match T20I series in India that follows the ODI series against the hosts as he has been asked to return home to rest, both physically and mentally, ahead of the Ashes later this year.
The Australian selectors are yet to name a replacement for the pacer and have conceded that the announcement will be made ahead of the T20I series.
"Pat has played a considerable amount of cricket this year after a long period away from the game due to injury. His body has handled the return to international cricket well, but we believe the best plan for him ahead of the Ashes Series is to return home to refresh, both mentally and physically, before he prepares for Sheffield Shield cricket," national selector Trevor Hohns said in a statement.
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Australia have already lost the first two ODIs against India and a comeback in the series will be a huge task for the World Champions. The Aussies are already without their frontline pacers Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and James Pattinson as they are either recovering from respective injuries or rested with the Ashes in mind.
In their absence, Pat Cummins, who is a fixture for Australia across all three formats, is spearheading their pace attack along with Nathan Coulter-Nile and the duo looked threatening in the first two matches.
The paceman is not carrying an injury but selectors have decided to call him back in order to freshen up ahead of the start of the Sheffield Shield season, which is seen as a warm-up for the Ashes that starts in November.
It is understood that Cummins will be available to play for his home team New South Wales Blues in the latter stages of the JLT One-Day Cup if they make the finals and will also be available for the JLT Sheffield Shield season that starts on October 27.
Australia will take on India in the third ODI on Sunday (September 24) and a loss in Indore will give the Indians an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series. The fourth and the fifth ODI will be played at Bengaluru and Nagpur respectively before the T20I series gets underway in Ranchi on October 7.
Without a doubt, Ashes is a big tournament for Australia as their pride is at stake and over the years, we have seen the Aussies give priority to the Ashes over any other bilateral series.
But, the current Indian team is so strong as beating them in an ODI series, that too in India, will be a massive boost for the reigning World Champions.