India captain Virat Kohli has said that he would like to see more mental health awareness in cricket.
Kohli said that he had gone through a bout of depression during India’s Test series in England in 2014 and those players going through such phases need professional help.
“Personally, for me that was a revelation that you could feel that lonely even though you are a part of a big group. I won’t say I didn’t have people who I could speak to but not having a professional to speak to who could understand what I am going through completely, I think is a huge factor. I think I would like to see it change,” Kohli said in a conversation with cricket commentator Mark Nicholas in the latter’s podcast “Not Just Cricket”.
The India captain said that players often get dropped after going through a bad patch of form but that is not a solution for those suffering from poor mental health.
“Lot of people suffer with that feeling for longer periods of time, it carries on for months, it carries on for a whole cricket season, people are not able to get out of it,” Kohli said.
“The only alternative left after that is that, the guy dropped from the team but that doesn’t solve the issue. It’s a very serious condition that should be dealt in detail with very carefully and I strongly feel the need for professional help there. Otherwise you are just left to figure things out on your own and more so as men, you are just expected to toughen up and get over it. Sometimes people are not able to do that,” he further said.
Kohli scored 1, 8, 25, 0, 39, 28, 0,7, 6 and 20 in five Tests, averaging 13.50 in his 10 innings — his lowest in a series involving three or more Tests.
“…it’s not a great feeling to wake up knowing that you won’t be able to score runs and I think all batsmen have felt that at some stage that you are not in control of anything at all,” he said.
“You just don’t understand how to get over it. That was a phase when I literally couldn’t do anything to overturn things…I felt like I was the loneliest guy in the world,” Kohli added, while citing the England tour.