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Pat Cummins was rested for final two Pakistan ODIs but Behrendorff’s illness changed plans

Cummins took 14 wickets in five matches in India before this series and Australia are not keen to increase his workload ahead of the all-important WC.

Pat Cummins
Pat Cummins. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Australia have quite a few puzzles to solve when it comes to picking their fast bowlers for the upcoming ICC World Cup in England. While two of their premier pacers Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood are yet to recover from injuries, another bowler Jhye Richardson received a shoulder injury during the ongoing ODI series against Australia in the UAE and flew back home.

The other pacer, Pat Cummins, was set to be rested for the final two matches in the series so that he gets adequate time to re-energise himself ahead of the WC but there was a change in Australia’s plans as Jason Behrendorff, yet another fast bowler, was ruled out of the fourth game being played in Dubai on Friday because of illness.

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Cummins, who has had a productive last few months in international cricket, missed the opening two games against Pakistan and returned in the third in which he picked three wickets to rip through Pakistan’s top order to win the man of the match award. Australia won the game by 80 runs to take an unassailable 3-0 lead and register their second consecutive ODI series victory.

Australia want to rest Cummins ahead of WC and Ashes

Cummins took 14 wickets in five matches in India before this series and Australia are not keen to increase his workload ahead of the all-important WC and the Ashes that follow thereafter. Cummins could join Richardson to return home from the UAE though his travel itinerary will be finalised on Saturday, said a report in cricket.com.au.

Australia went ahead with Kane Richardson in the fourth match after Behrendorff fell ill. Richardson opened the bowling attack with Nathan Coulter-Nile after Australia scored 277 for 7 in 50 overs after Imad Wasim, captaining Pakistan for the first time, won the toss and elected to field.

The Kangaroos have played just two pacers in each of the first three matches alongside spinners Nathan Lyon and Adam Zampa and with their main bowlers now absent either because of injury or rest, the likes of Coulter-Nile and Richardson have the opportunity to strengthen their claims for a WC berth.

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