Plan A: No rest for the wicket-taker

Coach David Saker says resting Pat Cummins during Indian series has been discussed, but Plan A is for him to play all matches

Australia don't plan on putting Pat Cummins in cotton wool for their limited-overs tour of India, but stand-in coach David Saker says rest at some stage during the series may be necessary to keep the star quick fresh for the Ashes.

Cummins will lead an inexperienced fast-bowling attack in five one-day internationals and three T20s over the next month, with Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and James Pattinson all at home nursing minor injuries ahead of England's arrival this summer.

Saker concedes the star right-armer's bowling workloads are "up there" after he pushed himself to the limit in oppressive conditions on the recent Test tour of Bangladesh, but the Victorian added that resting Cummins during the Indian series is only Plan B.

Cummins bowled resolutely in extreme conditions in Chittagong // Getty
Cummins bowled resolutely in extreme conditions in Chittagong // Getty

"At this stage we're planning for him to play all the games," Saker, Australia's fast bowling coach who is standing in as head coach for Darren Lehmann on this tour, said in Chennai on Wednesday.

"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.

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"He's really determined to play well over here.

"It'll be game-by-game basis, we'll play it by ear."

Having had a luckless run with injury since his memorable Test debut six years ago, Cummins is now ironically the only fit member of Australia's much-hyped pace quartet that the Aussies will look to unleash on England's fragile top order this summer.

Starc, Hazlewood and Pattinson are all expected to play in the early rounds of the Sheffield Shield before the first Test at The Gabba in late November and Saker concedes the timing of their respective injuries may even prove to be a blessing in disguise.

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Starc and Hazlewood were controversially rested from a ODI tour of South Africa 12 months ago, which was quickly followed by a shock Test defeat to the Proteas on home soil and a significant revamp of the Test XI.

But having spent last September and October resting in Australia instead playing of South Africa, Starc and Hazlewood were able to play all six Tests during the home summer and then led the attack for the first two matches of their series against India before Starc returned home with a foot injury.

And with the coming Test summer to begin almost three weeks later than last season, and scope to play up to three Sheffield Shield matches before the first Test, Saker is confident his star fast men will be ready to go when England come to town.

"We're hoping that they'll be ready before the first Shield game or second Shield game and that will give them good preparation," he said.

"We've probably got a bit of a blessing that we've got three Shield games before the first Test of the Ashes and it's probably as good a build-up as you'd want for an Ashes.

"So in that sense as long as they're ready to go by the first Test in Brisbane and ready to play and perform, I'll be really happy.

"This time last year we were in South Africa and it was the same thing, Hazlewood and Starc were rested for that tour. And they got through a really heavy workload in the summer, got through all the Tests.

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"It's not such a bad thing that they're not here, as long as they're ready to go for that first Test in Brisbane."

Cummins is one of just three frontline fast bowlers in Australia's ODI squad in India, alongside Nathan Coulter-Nile and Kane Richardson, while Jason Behrendorff will be added to the squad for the T20 matches next month.

The first ODI against India is in Chennai on Sunday.

Australia's Qantas Tour of India

Australia ODI squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Ashton Agar, Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Patrick Cummins, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa.

Australia T20 squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Jason Behrendorff, Dan Christian, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Patrick Cummins, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Glenn Maxwell, Tim Paine, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa.

India squad (first three ODIs): Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami.

ODI Fixtures

September 17: MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai

September 21: Eden Gardens, Kolkata

September 24: Holkar Cricket Stadium, Indore

September 28: M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru

October 1: VCA Stadium, Nagpur

T20 Fixtures

October 7: JSCA International Stadium, Ranchi

October 10: Barsapara Stadium, Guwahati

October 13: Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad