'Wonder if any of us in India would ever dare to speak up' - Shreevats Goswami opens up after Ben Stokes announces indefinite break from cricket

‘Wonder if any of us in India would ever dare to speak up’ – Shreevats Goswami opens up after Ben Stokes announces indefinite break from cricket

Stokes’ exit due to mental health issues is a notable third in recent times, after Naomi Osaka pulled out of the Wimbledon while Simone Biles opted out of the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

Ben Stokes and Shreevats Goswami
Ben Stokes and Shreevats Goswami. (Photo Source: Getty Images and Instagram)

After England all-rounder Ben Stokes announced an indefinite break from all forms of cricket citing mental health issues, Indian cricketer Shreevats Goswami has touched upon the concept and narrated how it is tabooed in India.

Gowami wonders how would the public perceive if any Indian player were to take such a decision, given the social stigma attached to mental health and well-being issues. He went on to list down the reasons he believes are behind the Indian hesitancy when it comes to opening up regarding issues related to the mind.

“With Ben Stokes & other athletes/cricketers now taking breaks for #mentalhealth & their well-being (rightly so) I wonder if any of us in india would ever dare to speak up, kyuki “log kya kahenge” (how will people react). In fact this is still a taboo in to talk about it,” read the first of a three-tweet thread from Goswami.

“Reasons why athletes in india don’t take #mentalheath or #wellbeing breaks 1. Unaware of mental health issue. Pressure is absolutely OK, stress is NOT. 2. Too much competition, you take a break your spot will be taking by someone else. 3. Still a taboo in to speak up. 4. Even if one does, being called names (soft, not interested, can’t take pressure, no focus, interested in other things) 5. Most people still think ki, Aisa kuch hota bhi hai? 6.Perceived as a weak player/individual (can’t handle pressure) 7. Being subjected to trolls,” he added.

Stokes’ exit due to mental health issues is a notable third in recent times, after Women’s tennis world No.2 Naomi Osaka pulled out of the Wimbledon while more recently US gymnast Simone Biles opted out of the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

Craig Overton named Stokes’ replacement

Somerset all-rounder Craig Overton is set to replace Stokes for the upcoming series of five Tests against India, which gets underway from August 4 in Nottingham’s Trent Bridge. Meanwhile, Stokes, who has spent a considerable time away from family in bio-bubbles with England’s Test and limited-overs squad over the last year, revealed how these times have been one full of ups and downs.

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) – which has even previously stressed and prioritized upon players’ well-being and has adopted a player rest and rotation policy to cater to those needs – has extended complete support to Stokes during his hour of need, with England’s director of men’s cricket Ashley Giles appreciating the 30-year-old for showing “tremendous courage to open up about his feelings.