AUS vs WI: Steven Smith replaces injured Cummins as captain
Australian skipper Pat Cummins has been ruled out of the second and final Test against West Indies, starting December 8. The pacer is yet to recover from a quad strain he picked up during the opening Test in Perth. Cummins' ouster means Steven Smith will once again lead the team. Meanwhile, pacer Scott Boland would replace him in the XI. Here are further details.
Why does this story matter?
- Cummins, who didn't look at his best in the series opener, went through 40 minutes of running work on Tuesday. However, he didn't bowl.
- He was subsequently scrubbed off ahead of Australia's training session on Wednesday.
- Notably, the selection committee didn't want Cummins' fitness to be risked.
- The pacer is likely to make a comeback in the first Test against South Africa.
What did CA say?
"Team medical staff commenced Cummins' recovery in Adelaide but selectors deemed there was not sufficient time for the fast bowler to be fully fit for the match, which starts tomorrow," a Cricket Australia statement said. "Cummins is expected to return for the opening Test match against South Africa." Notably, the Aussies will host SA in three Tests and as many ODIs, starting December 17.
How has Cummins fared in Tests?
The top-ranked Test bowler, Cummins has been phenomenal in whites. During the Perth Test, he became the fifth-fastest Aussie to complete 200 Test wickets, accomplishing the feat in 44 games. He currently boasts 202 wickets at 21.51. The tally includes seven five-wicket hauls and a 10-fer. Notably, he is among the very few pacers to have led a Test team.
Can Scott Boland shine again?
Boland, who was phenomenal in the 2021/22 Ashes, would be raring to make a mark once again. The right-arm pacer, who claimed 6/7 on his Test debut, has so far claimed 18 wickets in just three games. Moreover, he averages a tad below 10 (9.55) in Tests. He is set to form the pace attack with Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, and Cameron Green.
Steve Smith gets the reins once again
Smith will lead Australia for the second time after becoming the designated vice-captain. He stood for Cummins in an Ashes Test as well, after the latter was deemed a Covid-19 close contact. Notably, Smith was Australia's full-time skipper across formats before the ball-tampering episode. So far, he has guided the team to 19 wins. Australia have registered 10 defeats and six draws under him.
Australia's Probable XI for 2nd Test
Australia's Probable XI for 2nd Test: Usman Khawaja, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith (Captain), Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (Wicket-keeper), Scott Boland, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.
Australia eyeing clean sweep
With a PCT of 72.73, Australia are currently atop the ICC World Test Championship rankings. They would like to further consolidate their position with a win in the final Test. The duel will get underway on December 8 at the Adelaide Oval. WI, who lost the opening Test by 164 runs, played some competitive cricket and would like to put up a better show.