Virat Kohli to Sarah Taylor to Glenn Maxwell: 7 cricketers who faced mental health issues
A few years ago, when Australian players like Glenn Maxwell, Nic Pucovski and Nic Maddinson took a break from cricket because of their mental health issues, it became a hot topic in the media. Here are 7 players that have opened up about their mental health issues
Many cricketers sometimes feel depressed and pressure due to their hectic schedules, public backlash/trolling and the fear of failure. Many of them have come forward and talked about their mental health with their fans and media, so here are 7 such players who spoke openly about the same.
Virat Kohli: The Indian skipper once talked about the alleged mental health that he too battled "end of the world" thoughts but didn't know how to communicate to someone.
Talking about his bad days on the field during the 2014 tour of England, Virat had said at a press conference, “You know when you get to the international stage, every player that's in the squad needs that communication - that ability to speak out. I think what Glenn has done is remarkable. I gone through a phase in my career where I had felt that it was the end of the world. I just didn't know what to do, what to say to anyone, How to speak, how to communicate."
Cut to present, Virat has stepped down from the leadership duties of Team India in the Twenty20 Internationals post-2021 ICC World T20 and also would be discontinuing the role for RCB after the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL).
Praveen Kumar: Former Indian pacer's mental trauma was so intense that he reportedly even contemplated suicide. In an interview with The Indian Express, Praveen Kumar said, “I told myself, ‘What’s all this? Let me end it.’ I realized I can’t do this to my children, put them through this hell. I turned back. Who understands depression in India? Nobody knows about it, and in Meerut (UP), absolutely not. I had no one to talk to. I felt constant irritation. As a fast bowler, I had to do a lot of thinking. I told the counsellor I was unable to switch off thoughts.”
Glenn Maxwell: This Australian all-rounder took a break from cricket in October 2019 as he reportedly said that the last four to five years had mentally worn him out. In an interview with ESPNcricinfo, he said, “I was pretty cooked when I decided to take time off. A big reason why I did take that time away is that I was mentally and physically ruined. I think it was eight months on the road, living out of a suitcase, and that probably had been going on for four or five years, just constantly on the road and it all just caught up with me at that time.”
Marcus Trescothick: In an interview with Men’s Health, Marcus Trescothick opened up about depression and poor mental health. It was said he was at the best of his career in 2006, following which he declared his retirement due to his poor mental health. He said, “I’d always suffered from being away from home. I remember sitting with the team psychologist before the tour, telling him I didn’t want to go away. Things escalated quickly when we got out there. I was cooped up in bed for the best part of a week and it got progressively worse to the point where I thought, “I’ve got to get out of here and sort out what’s happening to me.”
Andrew Flintoff: All-rounder cricketer Andrew Flintoff was reportedly suffered from depression. He also said that he started drinking alcohol a lot during the World Cup 2007.
In an interview, he talked about the same, “I didn’t understand what was happening to me. I knew when I got back to my room I couldn’t shut off, which is why I started having a drink. It got to the stage where I was probably drinking more than I should. All I wanted was for the doctor to tell me what was wrong but no one suggested it was depression. There’s a certain sense of shame when I remember sitting in the dressing room after winning a one-day international in the West Indies. The lads were celebrating and I didn’t want to be a part of it, I didn’t want to do anything but sit on my own in the corner.”
Sarah Taylor: Woman cricketer from England, Sarah Taylor has allegedly been the victim of mental health disorders. She often shares pictures and videos of herself with her family and friends on social media. In 2019, Taylor surprised her fans with a topless photo, where she holds a bat.
Speaking on her health, she had said, “I first took a break from the game in 2016 but I don't want people to feel this is exactly the same. I've made progress in that time and there are plenty of challenges I've met on the way and hurdles I've overcome." Taylor added, “That said, mental health is not something you 'beat'. It’s a continual management process and at the moment I don't feel in a good enough place to compete in international sport.”
Jonathan Trott: One day, very abruptly, Trott announced his retirement due to a ‘long-standing stress-related condition’. He even stopped playing all forms of international cricket because of continued anxiety disorder.
In an interview, Jonathan had talked about his health, “Just coming down to breakfast, I’d sit on my own away from the guys with my cap over my head because I didn’t know how I was going to react to having to go to the cricket ground again." He added, “I was waking up looking at the clock hoping the clock had stopped, or that a pylon had fallen on the field and the game had been canceled, or the stadium had collapsed – as long as there was no one in it, of course. You end up thinking of all sorts of ways you wouldn’t have to go to the ground.”