Australia captain Pat Cummins empathised with his teammates who are set to return from India midway through a T20I series, saying that the players needed some time off the game after the grueling, yet rewarding World Cup campaign in India. 7 members of the World Cup-winning team stayed back in India for a 5-match T20I series against a second-string Indian side, led by Suryakumar Yadav. The T20I series began just 4 days after the World Cup final in Ahmedabad and it was understandable that Australia rested most of their World Cup stars for the series opener in Visakhapatnam.
Steve Smith, Sean Abbott, Marcus Stoinis and Josh Inglis played the first T20I while the likes of Glenn Maxwell and Adam Zampa returned to play the 2nd T20I. Hero of the World Cup final, Travis Head, was rested for the first two games.
However, hours ahead of the 3rd T20I in Guwahati on November 28, Australia announced that 6 of their World Cup winners would return home. Steve Smith and Adam Zampa were already on their way back home while the likes of Maxwell, Stoinis, Abbott and Josh Inglis would return home after the 3rd T20I on Tuesday.
Wicketkeeper-batter Josh Phillippe and big-hitter Ben McDermott have already joined the squad in Guwahati and are available for selection for the 3rd T20I, Cricket Australia said. Left-arm fast bowler Ben Dwarshuis and spinner Chris Green will join the squad after the 3rd T20I, it added.
The 4th T20I of the series will be played on December 1 in Raipur while the series finale will be played in Bengaluru on December 3.
Speaking to reporters after posing with the World Cup trophy at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Pat Cummins said he understood the decision to recall the World Cup players and that the rest of the T20I series will give fresh faces opportunity to shine.
“I don’t (begrudge them). It’s been a pretty busy few months. These are still games for Australia and it’s great that these tours do provide opportunities for some of the younger guys or guys who might not be in the first XI. I think these are important tours and you can get a lot out of them.
“But they’re humans. They’re not robots. Putting everything into a World Cup and then playing a few days later, I don’t begrudge them,” Cummins said, as quoted by Fox Cricket.
Notably, India picked only 3 players from their World Cup squad. Suryakumar is leading the side in the T20I series while Ishan Kishan and Prasidh Krishna were the other two players in the side as the likes of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, and Shubman Gill were rested.