Cummins rest would follow Ashes template

Pat Cummins gets his sore neck tended to by Usman Khawaja Getty Images

In 2013, Australia played India in an ODI series before a home Ashes encounter - same again in 2017. In 2013, Australia's coach Darren Lehmann skipped the tour in order to prepare for the England challenge - same again in 2017. In 2013, Mitchell Johnson played a key role as the ODI spearhead before flying home early to prepare for England - Pat Cummins is in that boat in 2017.

Further strengthening the case for Cummins to be spared from full duty in India is the fact that both Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc are currently recovering from injury in the hope that they will be fit to take part in a trio of Sheffield Shield matches that prelude the Ashes. Given his high pace and steep bounce, Cummins stands some chance of having the sort of impact Johnson did four years ago, provided he is well looked after. He has bowled 334.5 overs across formats in 2017, playing all four of Australia's most recent Tests, and the IPL as well.

David Saker, the assistant coach responsible for the pacemen who is deputising for Lehmann in India, did not shy away from the prospect of Cummins being rested at some point during the limited-overs series due to begin on September 17.

"At this stage we're planning for him to play all the games," Saker said. "We'll look at [resting him], it's obviously been brought up between all of us. We know that his workloads are up there, but we know it's an important series. It's Australia v India, you don't get any bigger than that. He's really determined to play well over here. It'll be game-by-game basis, we'll play it by ear."

In discussing Hazlewood and Starc, Saker revealed there was uncertainty about exactly when the pair would be ready to play for New South Wales, with the former recuperating from a side strain while the latter is in the final stages of his own recovery from a foot problem that reared its head during the India Tests earlier this year.

"We're hoping they'll be ready before the first Shield game or second Shield game and that will give them good preparation," Saker said. "We've probably got a bit of a blessing that we've got three Shield games before the first Test of the Ashes and it's probably as good a build-up as you'd want for an Ashes.

"So in that sense as long as they're ready to go by the first Test in Brisbane [on November 23] and ready to play and perform, I'll be really happy. This time last year, we were in South Africa and it was the same thing, Hazlewood and Starc were rested for that tour. And they got through a really heavy workload in the summer, got through all the Tests. It's not such a bad thing that they're not here, as long as they're ready to go for that first Test in Brisbane."

The bowlers subbing in during the ODI series in India are Nathan Coulter-Nile - himself an unused Ashes squad member in 2013-14 - and Kane Richardson. Other pace bowling options are provided by the allrounders James Faulkner and Marcus Stoinis, who are among the players in contention to occupy the No. 6 spot in the batting order during the Ashes.