A prolific entertainer on the field and a top all-rounder, Glenn Maxwell, opted out from the T20I series against Sri Lanka after the second T20I in Brisbane, due to difficulties with his mental health. He scored a swash-backing inning of 62 runs off 28 balls in the first T20I in Adelaide. However, Maxwell took a break of indefinite duration from cricket after the Brisbane T20I. He will miss the ongoing series against Sri Lanka and the upcoming T20I series against Pakistan.
He will have further assessments with Cricket Australia doctors and psychologists. Cricket Australia announced on Thursday that Maxwell was proactively looking for help with regards to his mental problems. Coach Justin langer was the first one with whom Maxwell opened up about his situation. Justin Langer said, “There have been a few times over the last months where I have suspected that he was probably battling a little bit but mainly in Adelaide last week before the first game. A few things just were not quite adding up. I asked him how he was going and he said: ‘No I am not going that well actually’.”
Team Psychologist Dr Michael Lloyd said, “Glenn Maxwell has been experiencing some difficulties with regards to his mental health. As a result, he will spend some time away from the game. Glenn was proactive in identifying these issues and engaging with support staff.”
Many players praised his courage to come out about his problems. Also, the executive general manager of the national team said that the well-being of players is paramount for them and Glenn will have the full support of Cricket Australia.
Maxwell played a substantial amount of cricket in past one year. He went on tours to UAE and India and had a county stint in addition to the World Cup 2019. A teammate of Maxwell, Chris Lynn said, “It sends shivers down my spine when you hear something like this, Glenn’s a close mate of mine. I wish him all the best if he needs me I will be there.”
Lynn added about the struggles that professional players in the game face, “A lot of people think it is a gravy train, play for Australia and get to travel the world but there is a lot of hard work beneath the water that people do not see and mental toughness that a lot of cricketers have to show is next level.”
As a replacement of Glenn Maxwell, D’Arcy Short had been called up ahead of the third T20I against Sri Lanka at MCG, Melbourne. It was a major setback for team Australia, as Maxwell is a very important player for them in T20Is. He is a match-winner in this format of the game. Considering that the World T20I Championship scheduled next year at home, Australia needs him most.
In the last decade, there is an increase in the numbers of player who are struggling with mental health. Big names of the game like Marcus Trescothick, Andrew Flintoff, Shaun Tait, Matthew Hoggard, Jonathan Trott, Alex Hales, Sarah Taylor came forward with their mental problems. British woman’s cricketer Sarah Taylor recently retired from cricket. That was, after battling with long mental problems.
Surprisingly, no Asian player has complained about it till now. In recent years, the tight schedule of International and First-class cricket and the rise of T20 Leagues all over the world is taking a toll on the health of players. We know Maxwell will be not the last name on this list for sure.