Perth: Australia batter Steve Smith has stepped in to captain the side in their ongoing first Test against the West Indies at Perth after regular skipper Pat Cummins did not take the field due to mild quad soreness.
Cummins had claimed 3/34 from 20.2 overs in the first innings of the match, and also reached 200 Test wickets. For the fourth innings of the match, where Australia have set West Indies a target of 498, he was replaced by substitute fielder Scott Boland for the afternoon session on day four.
“Pat Cummins is experiencing some mild right-sided quadricep soreness. “He will continue to be monitored by team medical staff and his availability to bowl in the second innings will be assessed on an ongoing basis,” said Cricket Australia in a statement Saturday.
Smith had captained Australia during last summer’s Ashes Test against England in Adelaide, when Cummins was ruled out of the match after being deemed a close contact of a Covid-19 positive testing person at a restaurant.
Cummins’ absence also leaves Australia without one of their strike bowlers in their experienced bowling line-up as they are hunt in hunt for the ten West Indies wickets to win the match and take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.
It also means that Australia have to rejig their bowling plans. Fast-bowling all-rounder Cameron Green may be required to contribute more with the ball while part-time spin of Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head may be needed too.
Cummins declared Australia’s second innings at lunch on day four, shortly after Labuschagne made an unbeaten 104, adding to the 204 he smacked in the first innings. It is not yet clear if Cummins is in doubt for the second Test against the West Indies at Adelaide Oval starting from Thursday.