‘Still pretty raw’: Australian captain Pat Cummins opens up about family heartbreak and cricket burnout

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Australian Test captain Pat Cummins has spoken publicly about the recent loss of his mother Maria, who passed away in March following a lengthy battle with breast cancer.

The 30-year-old flew home from India during the recent Border-Gavaskar Trophy after his mother was placed in palliative care, with Steve Smith leading the Australian team in his absence.

Speaking to WeAre8’s Get Real with Rio, Cummins confessed he was still processing the tragic death of his mother, who passed away about three weeks after his return to Sydney.

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“I’m part of a big family, I’m one of five kids,” Cummins said,

“It’s still pretty raw at the moment, but the last few months I’ve been able to luckily enough spend loads of time with mum and dad, just sharing all those memories.

“It really hits home, the kind of person you want to be, the kind of father you want to be. From that side, it’s been quite good, lots of memories. But in terms of the grief, I guess I’ll keep working through that, speaking to others.

“So many people have similar stories, and I think I know them telling me about how they’ve kind of dealt with it and gone through it, certainly helped me kind of rationalise it.

“So if I can help some other people down the track by speaking about it, potentially I will.”

Pat Cummins with his mother Maria, left, and sisters in Cardiff in 2015. Picture: InstagramSource: Instagram

In a wide-ranging interview, Cummins also opened up about the relentless cricket calendar, confessing to feeling burnout throughout his stellar professional career.

The talented paceman elected to miss this year’s Indian Premier League, sacrificing millions to ensure he was rested before a busy six-Test tour of England. Cummins, who was named ODI captain last year, has also missed several international white-ball fixtures over the past couple of years due to workload management.

Last year, England Test captain Ben Stokes announced his retirement from ODI cricket, citing the sport’s “unsustainable” workload on three-format cricketers for his decision.

“Cricket, it’s basically 12 months of the year. There’s always a cricket game going somewhere,” Cummins said.

“(In 2018) I played non-stop for a year or two, and I was just spent, burnout. I was thinking, ‘Geez, I’m 25 here. If I want to do this until I’m 35, I’ve got to find a way to balance all these different things.’

“As soon as it wasn’t fun, you’re doing it wrong, so I’m always trying to hang onto that.

“Even now, trying to find a bit of balance between cricket and normal life. If cricket becomes too stressful, I’m probably taking it a bit too seriously.”

Cummins will lead Australia in the upcoming World Test Championship final and Ashes series, which gets underway at Edgbaston on June 16. Last week, Cummins shared footage of him training at Bowral’s Bradman Oval as preparation for the England tour ramps up.

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