With a few of their key fast bowlers nursing injuries in the run-up to the home summer, Australia have decided to rest Pat Cummins from the T20I series against India with an eye on his workload management in the build-up to the Ashes. The fast bowler is not carrying an injury but will return home after the fifth ODI in Nagpur on October 1 to "refresh, both mentally and physically" before the start of the Sheffield Shield season.
"Pat has played a considerable amount of cricket this year after a long period away from the game due to injury," national selector Trevor Hohns said in a statement.
"His body has handled the return to international cricket well, but we believe the best plan for him ahead of the Ashes Series is to return home to refresh, both mentally and physically, before he prepares for Sheffield Shield cricket."
Cummins' main focus will be on preparations for the Sheffield Shield, which gets underway on October 26, but he could play for New South Wales in the later stages of the JLT One Day Cup, if they make it to the finals on October 19 and 21. A replacement for Cummins in Australia's T20I squad will be named at a later date.
Cummins' fitness struggles since his Test debut in November 2011 had forced Australia's selectors to take a long-term view regarding his workload in Tests and first-class matches, although he was picked in limited-overs squads subsequently. He made a comeback in December last year - after missing the 2015-16 season due to a stress fracture to the back - and has since played 22 of Australia's 27 international matches across formats, and also featured in the IPL.
In March, he was called up as Mitchell Starc's replacement for the final two Tests against India - after Starc suffered a stress fracture to his foot - and made a Test comeback after a gap of more than five years in Ranchi. He also led the pace-bowling duties in the Tests in Bangladesh, following Josh Hazlewood's injury in Dhaka, and ended up bowling 63 overs in the two-match series, the second-most for Australia after offspinner Nathan Lyon.
David Saker, Australia's bowling coach, had last week stated that Cummins' workload would be assessed on a game-by-game basis.
"At this stage we're planning for him to play all the games," Saker had said. "We'll look at [resting him], it's obviously been brought up between all of us. We know that his workloads are up there, but we know it's an important series. It's Australia v India, you don't get any bigger than that. He's really determined to play well over here. It'll be game-by-game basis, we'll play it by ear."
Hazlewood is still recuperating from a side strain he suffered in Dhaka, while Starc is in the final stages of recovery from the foot injury. There is a likelihood, however, that Starc, and injured quick James Pattinson, could play in the later stages of the JLT One Day Cup, although the hope is they will be fit to take part in the Sheffield Shield matches before the first Ashes Test, which starts from November 23 in Brisbane.