Pat Cummins: India Tour Was 'Hardest Time of My Life' Amid Mother's Illness

Pat Cummins: India Tour Was ‘Hardest Time of My Life’ Amid Mother’s Illness

Australian Test captain Pat Cummins has opened up about the emotional turmoil he endured during the India tour last year, as he grappled with the impending loss of his mother to cancer.

Cummins, who was in India for a Test series, made the difficult decision to return home to be by his mother’s side as she received palliative care. “Flying away… That’s the hardest time of my life, easily,” Cummins said in an interview for the Imperfects podcast.

The captaincy weighed heavily on Cummins’ mind during that period. “I remember my manager and a couple of other people around me who I normally listen to were calling me and being like, ‘I think we need to give a little bit of a reason why you’ve gone home’, and I’m like, ‘Nah, don’t care’,” he recalled.

Cummins’ mother, Maria, passed away last year. The cricketer said he tried to keep her final days as private as possible and didn’t explain to her why he flew home after playing in two Tests in India.

“But that time in particular – because we knew roughly the timeline, and knowing Mum and Dad as well; how much joy they get, sitting together, watching me play – that gave me enough confidence to go and play, and they were desperate for me to go and play, and I knew I could hop on a flight at any time and come back,” Cummins said.

Despite his determination to play, Cummins admitted that his mind was not fully on the game. “But for those couple of weeks I was in India, especially now I look back on it, my mind was not in India, it was back home the whole time,” he said.

Cummins even considered quitting as Australia captain at one point, as his desire to be with his mother intensified. “I honestly do not care what people think,” he said. “After about six or seven days when I knew I wasn’t going to come back to India, we said Mum’s in palliative care. But I literally could not have cared less what people were saying about me.”

Cummins’ decision to prioritize his family over cricket was met with understanding and support from his teammates and Cricket Australia. The captain’s resilience and determination to balance his personal and professional life serves as an inspiration to many.