“Ignorance is bliss,” is sure some good word of advice for those who need to give themselves a break from their daily grind. Ignorance, however, turns harmful, hurting and toxic when it comes to looking out for your fellow human beings but you decide to simply not take notice of their sufferings.
A couple of weeks ago, Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell gathered the courage to let his team, Cricket Australia and the rest of the world know that he was going through some mental health problems and wanted to take a leave of absence from the game to work on healing his mind.
JUST IN: Glenn Maxwell to take a short break from cricket after "experiencing some difficulties with regards to his mental health"
More to follow... pic.twitter.com/fe395p6AD9
The Australian cricket board, Maxwell's coaching staff and his head coach, Justin Langer were lauded for the way they managed to take care of Maxwell's plea and became the flag-bearers of emphasising on significance of mental health.
In an article back then, I had spoken about how the Indian cricket team and the BCCI should take inspiration from their Aussie rivals but it was the ignorance of common people like you and I that led to comments like “Indian players do not need mental health breaks” and “Maxwell has gone mad”. Sheer Ignorance!
Well, it turns out that Indian players DO need mental health breaks and that they too suffer from an ailing mind.
At the press conference ahead of the first Test between India and Bangladesh, the Captain of the Indian cricket team, Virat Kohli in fact admitted to suffering from mental distress during India's tour of England in 2014.
"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," he said.
That hesitation right there is what needs to be removed from the Indian dressing room and the minds of the players representing the nation. Yes, we are one of the strongest teams in the world but that doesn't mean we can't get wounded. And when we do, it is of utmost importance that we let the doctors know.
And that's exactly what Maxwell had done.
Kohli went on to commend the Aussie for taking that first step. He said, "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."
"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," said the skipper.
Days after Maxwell's story, we got in touch with yet another Australian legend in Adam Gilchrist and asked him if he would have reported a mental struggle back when he was the vice-captain of a World Cup winning team with names like Ricky Ponting and Shane Warne by his side?
“There was certainly a social stigma back in the day that has genuinely gone now. People are more open to talk about things like racism and mental health and we in Australia and even the rest of the world are a lot more comfortable around it," Gilchrist said.
“I think everyone needs to have a break occasionally. Freshen up physically and mentally and just relax," he added.
“Cricket can't be your life for every minute of every day,” said the 47-year-old.