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Cummins set to skip South Africa tour instead of risking wrist - and backs Marsh to shine as white-ball skipper

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15th August, 2023

Pat Cummins looks set to miss Australia’s ODI tour of South Africa due to his fractured wrist and instead return for the series against India ahead of the World Cup in October.

The World Cup could be Cummins’ last time captaining the ODI side, with the quick to determine after the tournament whether he can continue juggling the role with bowling duties and the Test captaincy.

Cummins injured his left wrist diving in the field on day one of the fifth Ashes Test at The Oval but played on before beginning his ongoing recovery.

“It hurt day one when I did it and it hurt a lot when I was batting, but I didn’t think it was too bad,” Cummins said.

“Then with each day it got a little bit sorer so I knew it was probably bone as opposed to a muscle (issue).”

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JULY 20: Pat Cummins of Australia bowls as Ben Stokes of England watches on during Day Two of the LV= Insurance Ashes 4th Test Match between England and Australia at Emirates Old Trafford on July 20, 2023 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

Pat Cummins bowls as Ben Stokes watches on. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

The injury had already ruled Cummins out of the first leg of Australia’s white-ball tour to South Africa, a three-match T20 international series that begins on August 31.

Cricket Australia hoped the right-arm quick could appear in the five-match ODI series that starts on September 7, naming him as captain in that squad.


But Cummins now appears likelier to return to play in India, where Australia’s ODI squad for South Africa will play three matches ahead of the World Cup from September 22.

“I’ll head over to South Africa at the back-end of that leg,” Cummins said.

“But we’re probably looking more at those one-dayers ahead of the World Cup.

“It shouldn’t be too bad. Another few weeks and it’ll be right.”

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Steve Smith, Josh Hazlewood and Alex Carey will all tour South Africa and have previously skippered the 50-over side, while newly-appointed T20 captain Mitch Marsh is another potential captain. 

Any replacement captain could be auditioning for the role long-term, with the busy Cummins a chance to offload the position to focus on his bowling workload and red-ball leadership duties.


“I haven’t thought about it too much to be honest. We’ll play this World Cup and then assess it after that,” Cummins said.

“The good thing is we’ve got a few options (for South Africa).

“(Marsh) is probably the most obvious one if he’s doing the T20s as well.”

Marsh’s appointment to the T20I captaincy comes after a steady rise back into favour at national level.

Mitchell Marsh

(Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

That rise continued with a famous century in the third Ashes Test at Headingley, his first red-ball appearance for Australia in almost four years. 


Cummins endorsed him as Matthew Wade’s successor at the helm of the T20I side.

“He’s always been a huge member of the team, a real leader,” Cummins said.

“As a captain, that’s what you want, a guy that’s going out there, taking the game on, someone we can all get behind.

“Off the field, he’s just a great people-person. His energy’s infectious, he’s great to hang around with, always good fun.”