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It’s great conversations are happening, says Steve Smith on cricketers’ mental health issue

He also felt that the fast bowlers face such issues mostly.

Steve Smith
Steve Smith. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

Ever since Australia batting all-rounder Glenn Maxwell opted to take an indefinite break from cricket because of mental health reasons, the cricketing fraternity has taken a bow. Mental fitness is not something that is often linked with sportspersons even if they need to undertake massive stress related to a demanding career.

In the past, England cricketer Marcus Trescothick had taken a break from the game citing mental ill-health and the matter had surprised people more. But with Maxwell, people are impressed. India captain Virat Kohli recently appreciated the Aussie’s decision and also revealed how vulnerable he felt mentally after a disappointing tour of England in 2014.

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And now, Maxwell’s team-mate and former Australia captain Steve Smith has also expressed his satisfaction over the fact that cricketers’ mental health is something that people are talking about nowadays. There are other players in Australia, too, like Nic Maddinson and Will Pucovski who have cited the same problem and Smith feels this is happening because of “hectic” playing schedules.

“It is a pretty hectic schedule nowadays,” Smith was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. “It’s bloody tough to sustain it for long periods of time, particularly I think for the fast bowlers. It’s extremely difficult what they put themselves through. It’s great that those conversations are happening and we’re trying to keep guys as mentally and physically fresh as they can be,” he further added.

Things have changed for the better in Australian dressing room

The 30-year-old also said that in the Australian dressing room, players are seen notifying the team management about their sleeping patterns and stress levels for a better understanding of their well-being.

“We fill out daily how we’re feeling, how we slept… the sleep gets a big red every now and again. We fill out a wellness thing every day. The coach and psych (psychologist) and head of team performance look at our markers daily and it’s upon us to be honest in the way we go about that as well.

“…if there’s a change in behaviour, if you’re feeling ill or not sleeping well or feeling a bit off, they’re aware of it. That can sort of start a conversation. Why is your sleep bad? “What’s going on? Why are you feeling a bit off today? It’s good that they do that. It’s good for guys’ mental health and well being as well,” Smith said. Cricket Australia has also helped the stressed players to overcome their plight.

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