Steve Smith to lead Australia in ODIs versus India

Pat Cummins has opted to stay home with his family while Steve Smith also fills in as captain for the ODI series.

Steve Smith will be leading Australia in the three-match ODI series against India starting this Friday.

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Why is Pat Cummins not with the side?

Australia’s regular skipper Pat Cummins will remain at home with his grieving family following the death of his mother last week.

Cummins had left the tour of India after the second Test in Delhi with Smith taking over the reins. After losing the first two Tests, the visitors pulled back the scoreline to 2-1.

“Our thoughts are with Pat and his family as they go through that grieving process,” said the head coach Andrew McDonald.

Steve Smith back at the helm

Smith has led Australia in 51 ODIs over the years and he’s tasked with overseeing their process as they look to gain crucial game-time in these conditions a few months away from the world cup. 

However, the Aussies have some questions to deal with. Apart from Cummins, they will miss Jhye Richardson and Josh Hazlewood in this series due to injuries. Nathan Ellis was called in as a replacement for Richardson but they have opted against replacing Cummins, which means Australia will only have three specialist pacers to choose from – Mitchell Starc, Sean Abbott and Ellis.

Australia could take a batting-heavy approach as they’ve done in the past, batting Glenn Maxwell or Cameron Green at no. 8.  

“We’ve got a couple conversations around the balance of the team we want to play. We’ve gone in with a structure with eight batters to bat a little bit deeper, we’ve tried that. So there’ll 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,” McDonald added. 

The first ODI between India and Australia will take place at Wankhede stadium on March 17.

Australia squad for ODI series

Steve Smith (c) Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa.

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