It's okay taking breaks to deal with mental health: Harmanpreet Kaurtext_fields
Durham: To reign in mental fatigue, a cricketer could take a break from the game instead of pushing themselves further, Indian women's cricket team captain Harmanpreet Kaur opined ahead of the first T20I against England.
Kaur's statement came when England all-rounder and stand-in skipper Nat Sciver withdrew herself from the white-ball series to deal with her mental health, IANS reported.
Kaur said, "We as a team discuss a lot on these things. Your performances go up and down, and it is better to take a break than to push too hard in such times. As a team, we want to help that player, and we are very open about players taking breaks when there is mental fatigue, and things do not go as you want."
Relating the hard times she went through, Kaur said, "Last year, I went through these things playing back-to-back cricket. This year, we had the Commonwealth Games, and the Hundred was there (back-to-back), but I wanted to take a break. Playing back-to-back does take a mental toll, and it is good to take a break at times (rather) than pushing too hard."
Kaur had been vocal about having a mental psychologist around before. According to her, players could consult a professional, confide in their mental struggles and seek help. She said how sports psychologist Dr Mugdha Bavare helped him to get back to form ahead of the Women's ODI World Cup in New Zealand earlier this year. She had made a good haul in the tournament, scoring 318 runs, which included a century and two-half tons, averaged at 53 and kept the strike rate of 91.64.
Kaur said, "When we were on the New Zealand tour, (Dr Bavare) was our go-to person and helped us a lot. I hope in future also we can get her with us because right now, we are paying too much attention to our physical fitness and skills. But mental skill is something we need to take seriously."
"She was there when I was going through a lot of things. She helped me a lot, and my family and friends were talking to me and telling me every day what I am and what I could bring to the team. I spent a lot of time with Mugdha, and got positive results. I started performing again, getting those runs I really wanted to get for my team," the star batter said.
Indian men's team ace batter Virat Kohli also came to the fore about his mental fatigue when he had three years drought of runs. He had taken time off the game for a month and a half. Though the men's team has a mental conditioning coach in Paddy Upton till Men's T20 World Cup, the women's team haven't got the same person in a full-time capacity, IANS reported.
"We represent our country, and there is a lot of pressure. Sometimes you only put so much pressure on yourself because you know your game and your ability and what you can do your country. So sometimes, expecting too much can also pull you back. In such times, if you can go to someone and express yourself and get some ideas about how to go about your own things, it will help you ease out."
"How much ever big a player you are, after a point you need someone, a mental-skill coach because mental health is as important as your physical fitness and skills. We need to have someone always with us because that is one part that is easily ignored - not only on the sports field but even out of the field."
"If we can go to people who can help us on the mental aspects, things get easier, and you feel relaxed, and you feel you have more areas where you can go and express yourself," she concluded.