Australian cricketers Glenn Maxwell and Nic Maddinson, who had taken a break from cricket to deal with mental health issues, made a return to the game on Saturday as they played for their club sides.
Maxwell scored five runs and picked two wickets to help his club Fitzroy Doncaster secure a win over Geelong. Maddinson played a knock of 58 for St Kilda to beat Casey-South Melbourne.
Maxwell had decided to take a short break from cricket to deal with his mental health issues. Cricket Australia (CA) on 31 October announced Maxwell’s decision to take a break from the game during the T20I series against Sri Lanka.
Similarly, Maddinson withdrew himself from Australia A squad to deal with mental health on 9 November, just ahead of the Test series against Pakistan.
Victorian batsman Will Pucovski had become the third Australian cricketer to report mental health problems to team management in just over two weeks after Maxwell and Maddinson had taken breaks from the game.
Former Australia captain Ian Chappell had said the burgeoning issue of mental health, forcing active players into sabbaticals, has reached “almost epidemic proportions” in his country and urged the cricket board to immediately address the matter.
“It’s a helluva problem. It’s almost epidemic proportions,” Chappell told local radio station ‘3AW’.
“It’s all well and good to be saying it’s very courageous of these guys to come out and speak and yes, it is brave, but Cricket Australia has got to get to the bottom of what’s causing this,” the 76-year-old Australian great said.
The issue has gained significance with many prominent voices like India captain Virat Kohli speaking about the mental struggles of a top-flight player.