Addressing mental health issues faced by cricketers, Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli recalled a ‘phase’ in his career following the 2014 tour of England, when he felt helpless and did not know what to do.
“I have 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 do and what to say to anyone, How to speak, how to communicate,” he said.
It was during India’s tour of England in 2014 that Kohli’s career faced a slump, with the Delhi batsman failing to make a single half-century. With the Test series against Bangladesh kickstarting on Thursday, the 32-year old stressed on the need of providing every International player with the ‘ability to speak out.’
“To be very honest, you (journalist) guys have a job to do. We guys have a job to do and everyone is focussed on what we need to do. It is very difficult to figure out what’s going on in another person’s mind,” Kohli said. “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.”
At the start of this month, Australian batting superstar Glenn Maxwell and Nic Maddinson took a break from cricket to deal with mental health issues. English players like Steve Harmison, Marcus Trescothick and Graeme Fowler have also admitted to dealing with depression.
Citing Maxwell’s example, Kohli said, “He set the right example for cricketers all over the world. If you are not in best frame of mind, you try, try and try, but as human beings you reach a tipping point at some stage or the other and you need time.”
“To be honest, I couldn’t have said that I am not feeling great mentally and I need to get away from the game. Because you never know how that’s taken,” said Kohli.
Stressing on the importance of space for more clarity, Kohli added, “Not to say that you give up but just to gain more clarity, you tend to take a bit more space which, in my opinion, is quite acceptable and quite a nice thing to do when you are not able to carry on anymore.”
“I think these things should be respected and not taken in a negative way at all. It’s just not having the capacity to deal with things which can happen to any person to any walk of life. I think it should be taken in a very positive way,” said Kohli, who recently celebrated his 31st birthday with wife Anushka Sharma in Bhutan. He skipped the T20I series against Bangladesh and Rohit Sharma was called in as the stand-in captain.
India play the first of the two-match Test series in Indore before leaving for Kolkata for the Day/Night Test.
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