Steven Smith to captain Australia in ODI series vs India


Steven Smith will captain Australia in the ODI series against India with Pat Cummins remaining at home following the death of his mother Maria last week.
Cummins left the tour after the second Test in Delhi with Smith taking over as Australia clawed the scoreline back to 2-1.
“Our thoughts are with Pat and his family as they go through that grieving process,” head coach Andrew McDonald said.
Cummins won’t be replaced in the squad which leaves Australia with 15 players to choose from in the three-match series which begins in Mumbai on Friday. Nathan Ellis was previously called up as a replacement for Jhye Richardson who suffered a recurrence of his hamstring injury.

With Smith taking charge of the side it means Australia will have had four captains in their last five ODIs. Aaron Finch retired after the series against New Zealand in September with Cummins named as his successor. However, when he was rested for the second match of the series against England in November, Josh Hazlewood took the role.

Hazlewood was not an option on this occasion due to the Achilles injury which forced him home from the Test series. Smith has previously captained Australia in 51 ODIs.

Aside from the absent quick bowlers, Australia have selected their full-strength ODI squad for this series with an eye on firming up plans for the World Cup in India during October and November. They have more ODIs against South Africa in August before needing to select their World Cup squad.

This is an allrounder-heavy squad, even more so now with them not replacing Cummins, and Australia will continue to explore how they can balance the side with them. On a number of occasions last year they fielded very deep batting orders with either Cameron Green or Glenn Maxwell at No. 8.

“We’ve got a couple conversations around the balance of the team we want to play,” McDonald said “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. So we’ve got to answer a few of those questions.”

Maxwell is returning from the badly-broken leg he suffered last November although it’s uncertain whether he will play all three games with a cautious approach likely to be taken.
David Warner is fit again after the fractured elbow which forced him home from the Test series after Delhi while Mitchell Marsh is in line to return from the ankle surgery which disrupted his home season following the T20 World Cup.
Ashton Agar is also back in India after a rapid fall down the pecking order among the Test spinners. He took 5 for 64 for Western Australia in the recent Marsh Cup final.

Australia ODI squad vs India David Warner, Travis Head, Steven Smith (capt), Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey, Glenn Maxwell, Cameron Green, Josh Inglis, Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Ellis, Adam Zampa



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