Several top Australian cricketers including Pat Cummins, Marcus Stoinis and David Warner, have withdrawn from the white-ball tour of the West Indies, Cricket Australia has announced.

In addition, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, and Daniel Sams have also requested that they not be considered for the tours of the West Indies and Bangladesh for various reasons.

"We are naturally disappointed not to have all players available for the Australian team at this time however the National Selection Panel respects the decisions of those who have opted out of this tour," said head selector Trevor Hohns.

“Steve Smith was unavailable for selection due to an elbow injury and will now be able to use this time to fully recover ahead of the World Cup and home Ashes Series. Steve was disappointed to miss the tour with the decision made on medical grounds. International tours in the time of Covid-19 undoubtedly present many additional challenges for athletes.

"They also present opportunities for others and, in this case, the chance to push for selection in the Australian men’s T20 World Cup squad later this year and beyond. This is a great chance for these players to make a case for the World Cup and all are considered very real prospects of making that tournament by performing well across these tours.”

The 18-man squad comprises Aaron Finch (c) (Victoria), Ashton Agar (Western Australia), Wes Agar (South Australia), Jason Behrendorff (Western Australia), Alex Carey (South Australia), Dan Christian (New South Wales), Josh Hazlewood (New South Wales), Moises Henriques (New South Wales), Mitchell Marsh (Western Australia), Riley Meredith (Tasmania), Ben McDermott (Tasmania), Josh Philippe (Western Australia), Mitchell Starc (New South Wales), Mitchell Swepson (Queensland), Ashton Turner (Western Australia), Andrew Tye (Western Australia), Matthew Wade (Tasmania), and Adam Zampa (New South Wales).

Australian cricketers, David Warner, and Pat Cummins could be given rest ahead of the West Indies series, as tensions continue to simmer over the latest ball-tampering comments.

The pair were both named as part of a 23- preliminary squad for the July series, which will consist of five T20Is and three ODIs, but recent reports are suggesting that Cricket Australia is contemplating resting the players, in order to give them more time with their families as fissions within the squad have appeared.

The issue came back into the public spotlight after recent comments were made by bowler Collin Bancroft who hinted that the team’s bowlers were aware of the plan to use sandpaper on the ball during the Test against South Africa.

The 2018 incident had led to bans for then Australia captain Steve Smith and vice-captain Warner and Bancroft.  The team’s bowlers Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc, and Nathan Lyon all issued a statement denying any involvement in the issue but another investigation from Cricket Australia now seems likely.

Several players were left discontented after Warner’s manager, James Erskine recently came out openly to say that the Sandpaper Gate was handled badly and eventually the truth will come out.

 

Australia bowlers Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon have called for an end to "rumour mongering and innuendo" around the 2018 ball-tampering scandal.

Then-captain Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were banned by Cricket Australia after all three were implicated in a plot to alter the condition of the ball with sandpaper during a 322-run defeat to South Africa at Newlands in March 2018.

Bancroft, who was caught on camera rubbing what was initially thought to be yellow sticky tape on the ball, was punished along with Smith and Warner, the latter as vice-captain also part of Australia's "leadership group".

Head coach Darren Lehman was cleared of any wrong-doing at the time and later stepped down, while the bowling attack of Starc, Hazlewood, Cummins and Lyon were also said to be in the dark.

In an interview with The Guardian last weekend, Bancroft was asked whether the bowlers knew what was going on and replied: "Uh … yeah, look, I think, yeah, I think it's pretty probably self-explanatory."

Cricket Australia invited Bancroft to come forward with any further information after it conducted a full investigation at the time.

In a joint statement published on Starc's website, the Australian bowlers stridently denied any wrongdoing and said it was "time to move on".

"We pride ourselves on our honesty. So it’s been disappointing to see that our integrity has been questioned by some journalists and past players in recent days in regard to the Cape Town Test of 2018," the statement read.

"We have already answered questions many times on this issue, but we feel compelled to put the key facts on the record again.

"We did not know a foreign substance was taken onto the field to alter the condition of the ball until we saw the images on the big screen at Newlands."

Umpires Nigel Long and Richard Illingworth inspected the condition of the ball after Bancroft appeared to tamper with it and did not find enough damage to change it – something Starc, Hazlewood, Cummins and Lyon chose to highlight.

The statement added: "None of this excuses what happened on the field that day at Newlands. It was wrong and it should never have happened.

"We've all learned valuable lessons and we'd like to think the public can see a change for the better in terms of the way we play, the way we behave and respect the game. Our commitment to improving as people and players will continue.

"We respectfully request an end to the rumour-mongering and innuendo. It has gone on too long and it is time to move on."

India retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after an enthralling three-wicket win over Australia in the final Test in Brisbane.

Led by Shubman Gill (91), Rishabh Pant (89 not out) and Cheteshwar Pujara (56), India incredibly passed their target of 328 late on day five on Tuesday.

It wrapped up a 2-1 series victory and ended Australia's stellar record at the Gabba, where they were unbeaten in their previous 31 Tests.

Pat Cummins (4-55) was the pick of Australia's bowlers, but India managed the third highest successful chase in their history and highest at the Gabba.

Rohit Sharma (7) fell early after edging Cummins behind, but Gill and Pujara blunted the Australia attack with a 114-run partnership.

Gill was the aggressor, while Pujara survived a tight lbw review off Nathan Lyon (2-85) when on just two.

Lyon had Gill caught by Steve Smith at first slip before Cummins removed Ajinkya Rahane following the captain's 22-ball 24.

The second new ball brought a much-needed breakthrough for Australia as Cummins finally got Pujara lbw, but Pant continued to impress.

As the dangerous Pant passed 50, Mayank Agarwal (9) survived following a review for a caught behind, but he scooped Cummins to Matthew Wade at short cover the following ball.

Washington Sundar (22 off 29) came and went, but Pant saw India to a remarkable win.

 

Pant times his run to perfection

His wicketkeeping often questioned, Pant produced the match-winning innings on the final day – and he timed it to perfection.

Just three overs were left when India wrapped up their victory, Pant perfectly choosing when to attack and keeping his composure as late wickets fell to lead India to a famous win.

Pujara highlights India bravery

Pujara's innings was just another example of India's fight throughout the series. The right-hander faced 211 balls in the second innings and he was hit repeatedly, including on the hand and in the head, but continued to battle on.

India were struck hard by injuries and saw Virat Kohli return home for the birth of his first child following the opening Test, which they lost after being dismissed for 36. Rahane stepped up in Melbourne and they managed to frustrate Australia in Sydney before a stunning victory in Brisbane.

Starc's struggles hurt Australia

Seemingly dealing with a hamstring injury on the final day, Mitchell Starc's struggles continued as he finished with figures of 0-75.

The left-arm paceman was particularly expensive and barely troubled India, who managed to contain him throughout the series. Starc finished with 11 wickets at 40.72 for the series, while the tourists also had answers to Lyon (nine wickets at 55.11).

Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins took crucial wickets as Australia’s bowlers closed on victory on day four of the third Test against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

After Hazlewood removed Shubman Gill for 31 runs, Rohit Sharma fell to Cummins for 52 as an embattled India closed on 98-2, needing 309 more runs for an unlikely win.

Australia had declared on 312-6 after Cameron Green showcased some huge hitting in the afternoon session, surging to 84 off 183 balls, including eight fours and four sixes to set up a tense final session for India.

It was a day of Test cricket once again marred by a crowd incident with play delayed for eight minutes before the tea break while six people were ejected by New South Wales police after India's Mohammed Siraj issued a complaint of alleged abuse to the umpires.

Pat Cummins jokingly compared Australia team-mate Josh Hazlewood to Jonty Rhodes after his run out against India on Saturday.

Hazlewood produced a spectacular piece of fielding to dismiss Hanuma Vihari on day three in Sydney, where Australia are well placed.

The paceman moved to his right at mid-off before quickly unleashing a throw while diving, catching Vihari well short of his ground.

Cummins compared the effort to something that might have been produced by Rhodes, the South African considered one of the best fielders of his time.

"Jonty Rhodes! How good was he. Unbelievable," Cummins told Fox Sports.

"Big fella still getting it done after bowling all day. Amazing. I'm sure he'll have that replay up tonight."

The effort drew comparisons to a similar run out by Cummins against India in Adelaide in 2018.

But Cummins had no doubt over whose was better.

"Great run out, well and truly on the podium, but he had fresh legs, he had three stumps to aim at, pretty early in the day, but other than that a pretty good effort I thought," he said.

Cummins took 4-29 as Australia dismissed India for 244 in response to their first-innings total of 338.

The hosts moved to 103-2 at stumps, a lead of 197 runs, to be in position to push for a 2-1 series lead.

Cummins said the SCG pitch, which showed signs of uneven bounce, was becoming difficult to bat on.

"It's a little bit up and down, today's day three, it's probably more like a day four or five wicket," he said.

"You've just got to throw the ego out the door and just bowl straight. It's going to be a slow grind, set some straight fields, and just kind of hope that the odd ball jumps.

"I thought we stuck to that plan really well and it worked out for us."

Australia are well-placed in the third Test against India after a strong day three in Sydney on Saturday.

After Pat Cummins (4-29) and a brilliant fielding display saw India dismissed for 244 in response to Australia's first-innings 338, the hosts reached 103-2 at stumps – a lead of 197 runs.

Cheteshwar Pujara (50) led India's batting effort, but they lost 49-6 to finish their innings as the SCG pitch began to show signs of uneven bounce.

Making matters worse for the tourists, Rishabh Pant (left elbow) and Ravindra Jadeja (left thumb) were taken for scans after suffering blows while batting.

Marnus Labuschagne (47) and Steve Smith (29), who led Australia's first-innings batting effort, were unbeaten at stumps as the hosts put themselves in position to take a 2-1 series lead.

It came after some wonderful fielding and a fine bowling display by Cummins reduced India.

Cummins had Ajinkya Rahane (22) playing on for the first breakthrough of day three before Josh Hazlewood (2-43) stepped up in the field.

The Australia paceman moved to his right at mid-off before quickly unleashing a throw while diving to run out Hanuma Vihari (4).

Pant responded for India but he struggled after a blow to his elbow and was caught at first slip by David Warner off Hazlewood.

Cummins had the dangerous Pujara caught behind, while Ravichandran Ashwin (10) was run out and Labuschagne produced a wonderful direct hit to also run out Jasprit Bumrah (0).

Jadeja (28 not out) played some nice shots and India were boosted by a couple of quick wickets to begin Australia's innings.

Mohammed Siraj (1-20) had Will Pucovski (10) caught behind and Warner (13) was trapped lbw by Ashwin (1-28), but Smith and Labuschagne steadied the innings to ensure Australia stayed in control.

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