Mental health; There was a time when not many had heard about this term in the world of sports, especially cricket, a team sport. But in the last few years, the players have mustered the courage to talk about their struggles. Now one of the best all-rounders in the world, Ben Stokes has stepped away from the game for an indefinite period to prioritise his mental health. Due to this, he will also miss the India Tests slated to start on August 4.
Cricketnext takes a look at cricketers who have prioritised their mental health over the game:
Former England opener Trescothick is one of the high-profile names who chose to speak about his mental health. It was at the peak of his career that he faced such issues. During the tour of India in 2006, he decided to go back and later revealed of his battle with depression. Later on he quit international cricket due to his condition.
One of England’s best Test batsman, Trott too battled mental health issues at the peak of his career. He left the Ashes 2013 in between, stating ‘long-standing stress-related’ condition as the reason for his decision. He did try to make a comeback in the county circuit, but couldn’t do much there and quit due to anxiety issues.
The winner of the 2009 T20 World Cup and 2017 World Cup, Sarah Taylor was perhaps England’s best keeper-batter, at the time she quit due to her battle with mental health issues. During her entire career she took quite a few breaks and finally hung her boots due to anxiety.
Touted as the next big thing is Australian cricket, the youngster has been suffering for mental health issues for a very long time. Even before making it to the Aussie national team, the right-hand batsman had opened up on his struggles in life. In 2019, during the series against Pakistan, he withdrew his name, when he was almost certain to be selected.
One of the best power-hitters in the world, Maxwell took a small break from cricket in 2019. But he returned into action soon and did well in the Big Bash League and for Australia in T20s as well. He got a pat on the back from coach Justin Langer for showing a lot of strength.
He is the classic case of ‘what could have been’. He was certainly one of the most talented spinners, not only in India but in the world. Maninder Singh’s career ended at a time when many hit their peak. In an interview, he had revealed that he got no help and took to alcohol.
The ace all-rounder opened up about his issues in a BBC documentary. He stated that there was a time he did not feel getting out of bed also. The loss in 2006-07 Ashes pushed Flintoff into alcoholism and depression.
Virat Kohli had an ordirnary 2014 England series, where he just could not score runs. During a press conference in 2019 he admitted that he had nowhere to go to during his lull period. He had saind, “To be honest, I couldn’t have said I am not feeling great mentally and I want to get away from the game because you never know how that’s taken.”
Regarded as the world’s best batsman, Tendulkar talked about dealing with pressure. He also opened up about how he suffered from anxiety during 10-12 years of his playing career. “I felt the anxiety for 10-12 years, had many sleepless nights before a game. Later on I started accepting that it was part of my preparation. Then I made peace with times I was not able to sleep in the night. I would start doing something to keep my mind comfortable.”
Sams first played for Australia in December 2020 in a T20I against India. He had a great Big Bash League before that. But before he could realise his full potential, he battled mental health issues and is on a break from cricket currently as well.
Former NZ skipper Bates suffered mental health issues, and had famously said that ‘cricket is the worst sport for mental health.” The Kiwi last played for the team in 2020.
The former India bowler had opened about how he wanted to end his life following his short run with the Indian team. In the interview he also spoke about feeling a loner. Later, he also revealed that the tough phase was behing him. Unfortunately though,he could never make a return to the Indian team.