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Hardest time of my life: Pat Cummins recalls tough phase before mother’s death


Australia skipper Pat Cummins has struggled to come to terms with his mother’s death, describing coming to India for a Test series as the “hardest time of my life” while she received treatment at home. Cummins’ mother, Maria, died of cancer last year, but the Australian captain travelled to India for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, which consisted of four tests. Between the second and third tests, Cummins returned home to attend to a family medical emergency, which turned out to be his mother’s health problem.

“I knew when I was getting on that plane that I was going to have to come back in a couple of weeks pretty much,” Cummins said in an interview for the Imperfects podcast. “Flying away… That’s the hardest time of my life, easily. I probably felt it in the 12 months leading in. Any time I flew away I was like, ‘Time’s finite here, I’m making a deliberate choice to go and play somewhere rather than spend it at home’.”

Cummins claimed he attempted to keep Maria’s final days as quiet as possible and did not explain why he flew home after playing two Tests in India last year.

“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. 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 admitted that he considered leaving Australia captaincy to spend more time with his mother. “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’, and he’s like, ‘Nah, you’re getting a lot of heat here, you’ve got to explain yourself’, and I was like, ‘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.”

Published By:

Saurabh Kumar

Published On:

Mar 5, 2024



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