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Glenn Maxwell, Jimmy Neesham, Monty Panesar: Cricketers who put mental health first

Australia’s Maxwell is taking a short break from cricket to focus on his mental health.

, ET Bureau|
Nov 01, 2019, 05.48 PM IST
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From left: Glenn Maxwell, Jimmy Neesham and Monty Panesar took time out to mentally refresh themselves when at a low point.
Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell has pulled out of the remainder of the T20I series vs. Sri Lanka to focus on his mental health.

According to the Australian team psychologist Dr. Michael Lloyd, Maxwell had been experiencing some mental health difficulties and “was proactive in identifying these issues and engaging with support staff”.

It Takes a Toll
This isn’t the first time Maxwell has spoken about mental health. In the past, the all-rounder has spoken about how excessive travel, time away from family and “complete, unfiltered access to players” through social media can affect a player’s mental health.

“It’s easy to overlook on the outside because all [the fans and media] see is players going out there and play in front of the big crowds, thinking how good a life they must have,” Maxwell told The Age last year. “But it’s extremely tough. You spend a lot of time in a hotel by yourself, away from your family, it is a tough time. It does take a toll”
​Maxwell has said that excessive travel, time away from family and “complete, unfiltered access to players” through social media can affect their mental health.​
Maxwell has said that excessive travel, time away from family and “complete, unfiltered access to players” through social media can affect their mental health.

Maxwell isn’t the first cricketer to put his mental health first. Here are a few others who took time out to mentally refresh themselves when at a low point.

Jimmy Neesham
Earlier this year, the New Zealand all-rounder revealed how close he came to walking away from the game (after being axed from the team post the Champions Trophy in 2017) and how a mental skills coach played a big part in his turnaround.
​With a little help from New Zealand Players Association CEO, Heath Mills, and psychologist Paula Dennan, Neesham worked to understand the source of his frustrations, and found his way back to the Black Caps.​
With a little help from New Zealand Players Association CEO, Heath Mills, and psychologist Paula Dennan, Neesham worked to understand the source of his frustrations, and found his way back to the Black Caps.

“Waking up in the morning and opening the shades, hoping it was raining is not the ideal way to be starting a day of cricket and I think I got to the point where I needed to have a full overhaul of the way I was approaching the game,” he said in an interview earlier this year.

“I wanted to dominate domestic cricket and wanted to score hundreds every game and once that starts going in a downward spiral and you're not going well and you're not scoring runs, you put more pressure on yourself.”

With a little help from New Zealand Players Association CEO - Heath Mills – and psychologist Paula Dennan, Neesham worked to understand the source of his frustrations and find his way back to the Black Caps.

"I'm not much of communicator at the best of time, just being able to talk through some of the struggles I was having off the field - it only took four or five sessions to really see some progress and feel confident going back onto the field again" he added.

Monty Panesar
Last year, the former England spinner opened up about his struggles with mental health and how did not realise for a long time how bad things were.

“The Asian community doesn’t have the education or understanding (of mental illness). They understand you have a broken leg and that if you put a plaster over it, it will take six weeks to heal. But a broken mind, they think let’s just stay away from that (person) because they think their mind might get broken with it,” he said in an interview.
Last year, the former England spinner opened up about his struggles with mental health and how did not realise for a long time how bad things were.
Last year, the former England spinner opened up about his struggles with mental health and how did not realise for a long time how bad things were.

Panesar believed the pressures of the job also added to his struggles. “It's a combination of being away from home and also the pressure of playing cricket. Sometimes it’s your own desire. You are playing for your country and you are fighting for your spot. Sometimes it gets a bit too much."

After he was cut adrift from Essex and a brief reunion with Northamptonshire, Panesar used the time away to slowly recover bit by bit. Instead of depending on medication, he focused on activities that would elevate him like yoga, boxing, gym work and reading.

Prithvi Shaw, Shane Warne, Yusuf Pathan: Cricket Stars Who Landed In Trouble Due To Doping

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Dark Clouds

5 Aug, 2019
The issue of doping in sport has largely left cricket untouched, and only a handful of names have been caught after stringent checks. These are the most high-profile cricketers who tested positive.(In pic from left: Shane Warne, Prithvi Shaw, Yusuf Pathan)
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