Batting great Ricky Ponting says the cricket community has showed its empathetic nature with its reaction to the illness of Pat Cummins' mother and highlighted the "awesome" gesture by the Barmy Army, the famous supporter group of Australia's arch-rivals England. (More Cricket News)
Australian captain Cummins flew back home from India after the conclusion of the second Test in Delhi to be by the side of his ailing mother, Maria, who is in palliative care.
He missed the third Test in Indore, and his participation in the fourth Test in Ahmedabad remains uncertain.
"I have actually spoken to Pat a couple of times," Ponting said in the latest episode of The ICC Review.
"When I first heard that he was making the trip home between Test matches, I had a pretty good understanding of what that was – his mum hasn't been well for a few years now, so I thought that might have been the reason. I reached out to him there and then.
‘Maria’ from West Side Story in support of Pat Cummins, who’s mother Maria has entered palliative care ❤️#NZvENG pic.twitter.com/rjjMdxooEw— England's Barmy Army (@TheBarmyArmy) February 24, 2023
"I think we've seen as well just how small and how tight the cricket world can be. I'm sure that he would've received a lot of well-wishes from all parts of the world, the cricket-loving fraternity, that would've sent some messages of support to him and the rest of his family in obviously what is a really difficult time for them."
The Barmy Army's tribute was among the wishes that came Cummins' way. During England's Test against New Zealand in Wellington, the group shared a video of their trumpet player playing 'Maria' from West Side Story as a tribute to Cummins' mother.
"I mean, that's fantastic," Ponting said, when asked if he'd seen the video.
"And that's the exact point that I was making about how small the cricket fraternity is and how tight and how close it is.
"I've said this for forever, I was lucky to play a lot of Ashes cricket and lucky to witness a lot of really good, lighthearted banter from the Barmy Army. I think they are the best group of sporting fans that I've ever seen.
"They travelled the world supporting their team and are up and about from the first ball of the Test match to the end, whether their team's going well or not.
"So that was a fantastic gesture from everyone concerned and involved with the Barmy Army. It was awesome."
Ponting also stressed on privacy for the Cummins family in this hour of crisis.
"I don't need to say anything too public, but just to let him know everyone's thinking of him and his family and, hopefully, everyone respects that and gives them the time and the privacy that they need.
"I guess from the cricket lovers' point of view as well, everyone just wants to see Pat back out there playing again."