Glenn Maxwell is simply one of the most talented all-rounders the Australian cricket team has ever produced. The brilliance with the bat and the ball has not only made him a big name in his own country but also earned him loads of memorable moments internationally and in the cricketing leagues of other nations as well.
People love him as a player, as a competitor, as a person. But when in 2019, Maxwell decided to take a break from his duties as a cricketer to work on his mental health, he inadvertently transformed himself into becoming a beacon of hope for other athletes, including Indian skipper Virat Kohli, to come out and talk about the issues which bothered them mentally.
JUST IN: Glenn Maxwell to take a short break from cricket after "experiencing some difficulties with regards to his mental health"
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However, Glenny's courageous journey wasn't easy. There were times when he would have preferred hurting himself over playing the game he loved so dearly. There were times when he was being excellent at what he's supposed to do - dominate on the field, but he felt no joy.
In the Ordineroli Speaking podcast with Neroli Meadows, Maxwell opens up about what led to his decision to take that break from cricket and the days that followed.
Talking about a day in the nets before Australia were to lock horns with South Africa during the ICC World Cup 2019, Maxwell said that his teammate Shaun Marsh and he were struck in the arm during practice.
"I knew he (Marsh) was in trouble when he came in, and immediately I felt bad for him. I just thought I hope he's OK, and if anything, I wish we could swap our news (suspecting Marsh's arm was broken)," he said.
"We went to the hospital together and we were both sitting there, I think both hoping for opposite news. When I got hit, I was angry and a part of me was hoping (my arm) was broken.
"I was like 'this is it, I just need a break'... I was thinking about things I could do on the way back to snap it. I had anger at other people and it didn't make sense, but I was angry at myself for not being able to produce at all this World Cup.
"I thought it would've been an easy escape because I felt like I was going to get dropped at some stage and I thought maybe this is the way."
When in October 2019, Lasith Malinga's side made a visit Down Under for a three-match T20I series, Maxwell was at the peak of his form, well physically at least. He was swinging for the fences every delivery that came his way, who was bowling, it didn't even matter.
In the first match, he smashed 62 off just 28 balls with seven fours and three sixes coming from the middle of his blade. He made it an easy sail for his side which won the match by 134 runs, he should have been the happiest man in the world but he felt nothing.October 27, 2019
"I batted so well, I got 60-odd off less than 30 (balls) and barely missed the middle...but didn't really enjoy any of it," he said.
"You're taking down an international attack and just not enjoying any bit of it."
This is when the cricketer decided that he needed to take some time off. It wasn't the easiest thing letting his teammates and his captain know that he didn't want to play for some time, even though he was physically fit. A mental health break wasn't seen as the most important thing to do.
"I was about to announce it to the group, they had no idea what was going on, I didn't even tell (Aaron) Finchy. I didn't want them to be distracted by what was going on with me.
"I went over to him (Finch) and said 'I'm done, I'm going to have a bit of time off', and he said he noticed something was up. Once I told him, he was like, 'brave decision, well done'.
"Once everyone left, I broke down into tears, it was more...that was the first time I showed any emotion...since the World Cup," he said.
This is when Maxwell became a symbol. People from all over the world, from his greatest rivals to the legends who served the team before him, everyone came out with their respective stories of mental issues and how they caved from dealing with it. Maxwell got a ton of support from the biggest names of the game.
You'd think that that would have made his life a little easier, right? Think again.
"Those next two or three days were probably the worst I'd had in the next six months," Maxwell said.
“As much as support was great, it was also so confronting...I wanted to go further into my little hole and not come out. I felt like I was letting a lot of people down, I felt like I was taking an easy-out, I didn't know what I was doing," he said.
Sometimes, taking an easy way out is the best way to deal with things. Take a break, move away from work, think about yourself as well. That's what Glenn Maxwell did and when he made his return during Australia's Big Bash League, he was the same batsman who harrowed the opponents with his big hits. He was named in the BBL's 'Team of the Tournament'.
He is now engaged, well over his mental health struggles and looking forward to new challenges in life. That is all a person could ask for, no?