Sports, Cricket

Cummins sees India ODIs as key World Cup preparation

Published : 21 Sep 2023 07:50 PM

Australia captain Pat Cummins is hopeful of playing in all three one-day internationals against India on his return from a wrist injury but confirmed fast bowler Mitchell Starc and all-rounder Glenn Maxwell will miss Friday's series opener in Mohali.

Starc has been recovering from a groin injury sustained during the Ashes series in England, while Maxwell will join the squad on Friday having recovered from an ankle injury.

"My wrist is all healed now ... hoping to play all three games," Cummins said on Thursday before the start of their final warm-up series before the World Cup in India starting on Oct. 5.

Batting mainstay Steve Smith is also set to return from a wrist injury but opener Travis Head has been ruled out with a fractured hand that makes him doubtful for the World Cup.

"We want to strike the balance between getting used to these conditions, hopefully winning some games, but we also don't want to get to that first (World Cup) game and already be cooked," Cummins said.

"No doubt we'll be trying a few different combinations, a few different players will get a chance but ideally we'd like to structure up pretty closely to how we'll play in the World Cup."

Marcus Stoinis shared the new ball on the recent tour of South Africa and Australia have two more pace-bowling all-rounder options in Cameron Green and Sean Abbott.

"You need five bowlers, so the more all-rounders you have you can really bolster your batting," Cummins said.

"It gives us flexibility to pick four genuine bowlers or maybe three bowlers and bat an all-rounder at No. 8. Hopefully Maxi (Maxwell) comes back later in the series, but the other three guys have been bowling fantastically."

Most of Australia's top players are also key members of different franchises in the Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament, and Cummins said they "have pretty good information" about the local conditions. He said they hoped to try different team combinations and players against India to prepare for the all-important World Cup in India next month.

"Hopefully we will get a few answers in the next few games," Cummins said.

Australia, along with India and England, are seen as three top contendersgoing into the ODI World Cup.

India have rested captain Rohit Sharma and batting superstar ViratKohli for the first two ODIs and also hope to try different players before the tournament. India will be led by KL Rahul in the absence of Sharma, who returns with other key players for the final match of the series.