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Cricket a Tough Game, Important to Look After Mental Health: Rahul Dravid

Ex-Indian batsman Rahul Dravid highlighted the importance of mental health in a sport like cricket, describing it as a “tough game” full of highs and lows.

Cricketnext Staff |November 29, 2019, 2:59 PM IST
Cricket a Tough Game, Important to Look After Mental Health: Rahul Dravid

Ex-Indian batsman Rahul Dravid, who is currently head of Cricket at the National Cricket Academy, highlighted the importance of mental health in a sport like cricket, describing it as a “tough game” full of highs and lows.

“It is a big challenge. This is a tough game. There is so much competition, a lot of pressure, and kids are playing all year round now. It is a game in which you do sometimes spend a lot of time waiting around, having a lot of time to think,” Dravid told ESPNCricinfo, speaking about what his advice for young players would be on the subject of mental health.

“So, you really need to look after yourself on and off the field, and look after stuff like mental health. That's again something that, as much as we talk to these boys about, it's really important to maintain a certain level of balance in everything you do.

"Be able to find that balance between not getting too excited when you succeed and not getting too disappointed when you fail. I just think being able to lead a slightly balanced life potentially helps.”

The issue of mental health has been in the spotlight, with Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell most recently deciding to announce a sabbatical from the sport. He made his comeback earlier this month along with Nic Maddinson and promising young batsman Will Pukovski, who were also away from the sport for similar reasons.

However it is not just a recent phenomenon, with prominent players like Andrew Flintoff and Steve Harmison talking about their battles with mental health after their professional careers were over. England women’s wicketkeeper batsman Sarah Taylor also announced her retirement from the sport earlier this year citing mental health issues.

Dravid spoke about the measures that were being put in place at the NCA to address the issue.

“We are also putting a few things in place at the NCA wherein we want to be able to give people an opportunity to talk about these things and address some of these things, and have people that they can speak to,” he said.

“So, yes, there has been some work on that as well, wherein eventually we'll get to a point where hopefully we should have professionals on board. I think sometimes some of these things need to be handled by professionals.

“I don't think some of the coaches, or some of us, have the ability to deal with some of the issues. Some things we might be able to, but there may be some things where we might need to look at professional help. It's one of the things we are definitely keen on doing at the NCA: giving some of these boys access to some level of professional help if they do require it.”

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