Australia legend Ricky Ponting said the reaction of the cricketing fraternity to the illness of Pat Cummins' mother displayed how empathetic the community could be, and highlighted the Barmy Army's touching tribute as an 'awesome' example of the bond in the sport.
Among the many wishes and tributes that were sent Cummins' way was a powerful gesture by the Barmy Army, the renowned supporter group of Australia's arch-rivals England.
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 Maria.
Cummins flew back home from India after the conclusion of the second Test in Delhi to be at the side of his 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.
Ponting has been in contact with the Australia captain to offer his support.
"I have actually spoken to Pat a couple of times. 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," Ponting told Sanjana Ganesan in the latest episode of The ICC Review.
"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."
Ponting reiterated the Cummins family's privacy was paramount at this time.
"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," Ponting said.
The former captain lauded the Barmy Army as the best group of sports fans he has come across.
"I mean, that's fantastic. 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 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," Ponting said when asked if he'd seen the video.
"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," he concluded.
Australia's convincing nine-wicket triumph over India in the third Test helped them book a place at this year's ICC World Test Championship Final.
Australia have been the dominant side during this World Test Championship period (2021-23), with Pat Cummins' side having won 11 of the 18 Tests they have featured in. (ANI)