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Cummins will miss final Test too, Smith to lead Australia in Ahmedabad

Cummins is still due to lead Australia in the ODI series, but a decision on his participation in that series hasn't been taken yet

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
Pat Cummins and Steven Smith address the Australia huddle, Australia vs England, The Ashes, 1st Test, 4th day, Brisbane, December 11, 2021

Steven Smith will stand in for Pat Cummins in a Test match for the fourth time  •  Getty Images

Pat Cummins will not return to India for the final Test in Ahmedabad, and Steven Smith will lead Australia again as they seek to level the Border-Gavaskar series.
Cummins left after the second Test in Delhi to be with his seriously ill mother, Maria, who has been placed in palliative care, and he has opted to remain at home. The team was in contact with Cummins after the nine-wicket victory in the Indore Test, just their second Test win in India since 2004.
Ahmedabad will be the fourth time Smith has stood in for Cummins since they came together in the new leadership structure before the 2021-22 Ashes, but Smith insisted he had no interest in another full-time go at the captaincy.
"My time is done. It's Pat's team now," he said after Indore. "I've obviously been able to stand in this week, obviously in tough circumstances with Patty going home. Our thoughts are still with him back home as well."
However, he did talk about how much he enjoyed the challenge of captaining in India where he feels every move made in the field could have an impact on the match.
"It's a game of chess, every ball means something," he said. "It's probably my favourite place in the world to captain. You think back home in Australia and generally you're playing with a third slip or putting a third slip to cover or your square leg up or back or something like that. There's not too much that sort of goes on with it.
"But [in] this part of the world, you have to be really proactive. Every ball is an event and therefore can dictate what happens after, which is something that I really love and you've got to be ahead of the game."
Cummins is due to captain the ODI squad for the three-match series which follows the Tests, but a decision on his participation in that is yet to be taken. He had already opted out of this year's IPL due to the heavy international schedule. Australia will play the World Test Championship final in early June, against either India or Sri Lanka, before the five-match Ashes series - the six Tests will take place in two months.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo