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Cummins returns home due to family health issue

The captain is due to return to lead the side in the third Test in Indore

Alex Malcolm
Alex Malcolm
Pat Cummins and Rohit Sharma shake hands after the second Test  •  Getty Images

Pat Cummins and Rohit Sharma shake hands after the second Test  •  Getty Images

Australia captain Pat Cummins has flown home from the tour of India due to a serious family health issue following his side's six-wicket loss in the second Test in Delhi.
Cummins will return to Sydney for a few days but is due to be back in India for the preparations ahead of the third Test in Indore. Australia are 2-0 down in the series with two Tests to play but now have a nine-day break between Tests with the third match beginning on March 1.
Coach Andrew McDonald confirmed Cummins would remain in contact with the group while he is in Sydney and would remain involved in the planning for Indore.
"We'll be in contact with Patty," McDonald said. "We've got some decisions to make around squads and injuries. He'll still be engaged in those conversations whilst dealing with what's happening back home but we've got some strong leaders in the squad who will be able to pick up the slack on the ground."
Cummins played as the sole quick in Australia's XI in Delhi but did not bowl in the fourth innings of the match as India mowed down Australia's target of 115 with ease to wrap up the Test inside three days.
Although Cummins is not expected to miss a Test, vice-captain Steven Smith would lead the side if required. Smith has captained in Cummins' absence on two occasions since the fast bowler took over the Test captaincy in late 2021.
Cummins missed the second Test of the 2021-22 Ashes series in Adelaide after he was forced to withdraw due to being a close Covid contact. He also missed last year's day-night Test in Adelaide against West Indies due to a quad injury.
Australia are likely to have fast bowling cover if needed with Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood aiming to be fit for the third Test in Indore while Scott Boland and Lance Morris are still with the squad. Allrounder Cameron Green is also set to be available after missing the first two Tests in India due to his fractured finger.
Cummins did forecast that there could be further squad changes announced in the coming days as Australia assess their options to try and find a way back into the series.
David Warner's fitness will be closely monitored after he was subbed out of the Delhi Test with concussion having also suffered a hairline fracture in his left elbow while batting in the first innings.
Todd Murphy is battling some minor side soreness but was able to bowl 24.4 overs in the Test including 6.4 in the fourth innings on Sunday. Legspinner Mitchell Swepson could possibly return after flying home ahead of the second Test for the birth of his first child.
Cummins is also the ODI captain with Australia set to play three-match ODI series against India following the conclusion of the four-Test series although there is a chance he would be rested from those in any case given his heavy Test workload.

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo