India captain Virat Kohli said mental-health breaks are necessary for sport and that it’s high time that they are not seen in a negative way.
Virat Kohli recalled the time he was struggling to deal with his ordinary performances on the England tour of 2014. Kohli said he felt like “it was the end of the world” but was not in a position to say he was “not feeling great mentally” and “get away from the game”.
Kohli heaped rich praise on Glenn Maxwell who decided to take an indefinite break from cricket due to difficulties with regards to his mental health last month. Australia’s team psychologist Dr. Michael Lloyd, in fact, lauded Maxwell for “proactively” identifying the issues while the team management has expressed full support for the all-rounder.
Maxwell missed a T20I against Sri Lanka and was not part of Australia’s series against Pakistan earlier this month. Following Maxwell’s sabbatical, Australia batsman Nic Maddinson also took a break by withdrawing from Australia A’s tour game against Pakistan to focus on mental health issues.
“I think what Glenn has done is remarkable. It will set the right example for cricketers all over the world that if you’re not in the best frame of mind, you try, you try and try. I think, as human beings, you reach a tipping point at some stage you need some time away from the game,” Virat Kohli said on the eve of the 1st Test against Bangladesh in Indore.
“Not to say that you give up but just to gain more clarity and you tend to take more space, which I think is quite acceptable and quite a nice thing to do.
“I think these things should be respected and not taken in a negative way at all because this is happening at a human level, it’s got nothing to do with what you do on the field or not. Just not having the capacity to deal with things, which I think can happen to anyone so I think it should be taken in a very positive way.”
‘In England 2014, I didn’t know what to do, what to say to anyone’
Virat Kohli also said he was feeling helpless during the England tour on which he managed 134 runs from 10 innings.
Kohli also said it’s difficult for individuals to identify other’s mental-health issues and that players need proper communication channels to express what going on with them.
“Well, I am absolutely for it. To be very honest, you guys have a job to do. And everyone is focussed on what they need to do. It’s very difficult for anyone to figure out what’s going on in another person’s mind. I have gone through a phase in my career where I felt like it was the end of the world,” Virat Kohli said.
“In England 2014, I didn’t know what to do, what to say to anyone, how to speak, how to communicate. And to be honest, I couldn’t have said ‘I am not feeling great mentally and I need to get away from the game’ because you never know how that’s taken.
“These things should be of great importance. If you think that a player is important enough for the Indian team, then he/she should be taken good care of. When you get to the international stage, every player in the squad needs that sort of communication and ability to speak out.”