Australia captain Pat Cummins is yet to come to terms with the death of his mother and described flying to India for a Test series as she received treatment at home as the “hardest time of my life”.

Cummins’ mother, Maria, died of cancer last year.

“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.

Cummins was in India for a Test series but he returned home to be by his ailing mother’s side as she received palliative care.

“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’.”

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Cummins said he tried to keep Maria’s final days as private as possible and didn’t explain to her why he flew home after playing in 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 said at one point he even thought of quitting as Australia captain and only wanted to be 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.”


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