Australian captain Pat Cummins should be given the opportunity to sit out the rest of the Test series in India, former fast bowler Jason Gillespie says.
- Jason Gillespie said Pat Cummins should stay home and not return to India to play the fourth Test
- Cummins has already ruled himself out of playing in the third Test in Indore next week
- Australia could welcome back Cameron Green and Mitch Starc for the third Test
Cummins left India after Australia’s heavy defeat in the second Test to spend time with his sick mother, who is currently in palliative care in Sydney.
The 29-year-old told coach Andrew McDonald on Thursday that he wished to stay in Sydney and miss the third Test, due to start in Indore on March 1.
Former Australian quick Gillespie told ABC Sport that he should not feel obligated to return for the final Test in Ahmedabad.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if we didn’t see him on this tour [again],” Gillespie told Summer Grandstand on Saturday.
“If I was in charge, I’d probably just say to him, ‘stay at home’.
“With all due respect, the series is gone, we can’t win the series, there’s series coming up this year … moving forward, it might just be a really good opportunity for Pat Cummins to spend important time, precious time, with close family and friends.
“What’s more important, spending time with your close family and friends and particularly your mum who’s gravely ill, or the fourth Test of a series that you’ve already lost?
“He’s already missing the third Test, for me it’s an absolute no-brainer. It wouldn’t surprise me if behind the scenes they’ve already said to Pat, we don’t need you here in India for this Test series.
“Be a son. Be a brother, just be around your family. Family is the number one thing.”
Australia batter Travis Head said Cummins had the full support of his teammates.
“We fully expect him to be at home. Life’s a bigger thing than cricket,” he said.
“It’s more important for him to be at home than be here.”
India has an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-Test series and has already retained the Border-Gavaskar trophy.
Gillespie, who was a part of Australia’s last successful Test series victory in India 19 years ago, acknowledged Australia has “clearly been outplayed” in the series thus far.
“They’ll no doubt be disappointed,” the South Australia coach said.
“Yes, it’s been challenging conditions, but the Australians certainly need to find a way to get the methods right because they know they’re going to cop more spin.
“They’ve got to search for ways to improve that, and quickly, if they are to turn this series around.”
Cummins was the only seam-bowling option for Australia in the second Test, after going into the first Test with just Cummins and Scott Boland on turning decks.
Australia’s pace-bowling stocks have been boosted ahead of the third Test, with Mitch Starc and all-rounder Cameron Green both returning to fitness following their respective finger injuries.
That’s despite Josh Hazlewood being ruled out with an Achilles injury.
Gillespie said the extra personnel becoming available should make the decision to allow Cummins the time away from the team, with former skipper Steve Smith taking the captaincy reins for the third time since his return from international exile.
“It gives Australia an opportunity, they’ve got Mitchell Starc back fit and firing, they’ve got Cameron Green, they’ve got Lance Morris waiting in the wings, Scotty Boland — we’ve got the bowling there to cover,” Gillespie said.
“Pat Cummins is a great bowler, no doubt, but some things are more important in life than a game of cricket.”