‘I have played with a lot of Englishmen, Australians and the West Indians, they just give up on mental health,’ says the BCCI president
BCCI President Sourav Ganguly on Tuesday said Indian cricketers are “more tolerant” when it comes to dealing with mental health issues compared to those from England and Australia, but acknowledged that being confined to bio-bubbles amid a raging pandemic is not easy for anyone.
International cricket in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced players to stay in bio-bubbles, where their life is restricted to hotels and stadiums.
They do not have access to people outside the bubble during the series and India skipper Virat Kohli is among those who have voiced their concerns about the mental toll that the current situation is taking.
“I feel we Indians are a bit more tolerant than overseas (cricketers). I have played with a lot of Englishmen, Australians, and the West Indians, they just give up on mental health,” the former India captain said at a virtual promotional event here.
“In the last six-seven months, with so much cricket being going on in the bio-bubble, it’s so tough. Just going from the hotel room to the ground, handle the pressure and come back to the room and then get back to the ground again, it’s an absolutely different life.” Ganguly cited the example of the Australian cricket team which pulled out of a tour to South Africa following a defeat to India at home.
Australia were slated for a three-Test tour in March-April but they pulled out citing an “unacceptable level of health and safety risk to players, support staff and the community”.
“Look at the Australian team, they were supposed to go to South Africa for a Test series after India played there. They refused to go there…,” he said.
“And always there’s this scare of COVID. ‘Hope it’s not me the next time’. You have to stay positive, you have to train yourself mentally. All of us have to train ourselves mentally so that the good will happen. It boils down to training,” Ganguly added.
The former India skipper further recalled the biggest setback in his career when he was stripped of captaincy in 2005 and was eventually dropped only to make a splendid return.
“You just have to deal with it. It’s the mindset that you get into. Life has no guarantees, be it in sport, business or whatever. You go through ups and downs. You just have to bite the bullet. Pressure is a huge thing in everybody’s life. All of us go through different pressures.
“When you play your first Test, it’s the pressure of making yourself established and making the world know that you belong at this level. A little bit of blip and it doesn’t stop people from scrutinising you and that adds to athletes in a long way,” he added.