Pat Cummins admits he was “burnt out” by the relentless nature of the cricket schedule when he returned from a frustrating run of injuries early in his international career.
In his first interview since leaving India midway through Australia’s tour in February to spend time with his dying mother, the Test and ODI captain declared he wanted to play until he was 35.
However, Cummins said he needed to adjust mentally after forcing his way back into the Australian team in 2017 following almost six years on the outer due to injury.
The rise of T20 leagues across the world has meant players have increasingly had to choose between the riches of franchise cricket and the prestige of playing for their country.
In a wide-ranging chat with England soccer legend Rio Ferdinand, Cummins said he had sought to find other things in his life outside of cricket.
“Cricket’s basically 12 months of the year; there’s always a cricket game going on somewhere, and I played non-stop for a year or two,” Cummins told WeAre8’s ‘Get Real with Rio’.
“This is about four or five years ago, [when] I kind of just came back from injuries. And I was just spent, like burnout and I just remember thinking ‘geez I’m 25 here but I want to do this until I’m 35’ I’ve got to find a way to balance all these different things.”
One of those passions outside of cricket has been Cricket for Climate, a foundation he helped set up to reduce the sport’s carbon footprint.
His involvement in the cause has prompted some criticism from right-wing commentators, telling him to “stick to cricket”, but the 29-year-old plans to remain actively involved.
“We’d [Cricket for Climate] love to go overseas, India, England, there’s so much scope for making a change in those places,” Cummins said. “I try to do my little bit to normalise the conversation and make a bit of difference to make his [son Albie] future a bit better.
“I’d love to sit back in 10-20 years and just show the huge impact we’ve made.”
Cummins said he was still processing the loss of his mother Maria, who died in March about three weeks after he returned to Sydney from India.
“It’s still pretty raw at the moment but the last few months been luckily enough to spend loads of time with mum,” he said. “But [also] us as kids, and [with] dad, and just sharing all those memories together.
“I think it hits home the kind of person you want to be, the kind of father you want to be. So from that side, it’s been quite good. Lots of memories. But in terms of the grief I guess we’ll keep working through that.”
Cummins will return to lead Australia in the final of the World Test Championship final against India at The Oval in London on June 7, before the Ashes gets underway on June 16.