It wasn’t an easy year for the Australian batter Nicole Bolton. Of course, there isn’t a drop in form. She was doing well on the field but something has been bothering her mentally that forced her to take an indefinite break from the game in January, in the mid-WBBL tournament.
Bolton missed out the ODIs against the White Ferns as well and after months of battle with the mental health, Bolton is now back into the team for the Ashes.
“Personally a few things happened to me away from cricket which was a bit of a challenge in itself,” Bolton told Fox Cricket. “There is still a lot of stigma around mental health, depression and anxiety. I don’t think I’d be sitting here talking to you if I didn’t take a break. I potentially would have retired to be honest.”
“It was what people couldn’t see behind closed doors where I was really struggling. Physically my body started to fail me in a sense. It was like alarm bells because I was like ‘this isn’t normal’.”
When she met the Perth doctor, she wasn’t completely honest with him.
“I was almost covering up how I was really feeling,” Bolton said. “I didn’t want to rush it. It was something I knew that if I was going to take the time off, I had to do it properly. If that meant never coming back to play for Australia, then that’s what it meant.”
Bolton saw a lot of her competitors battle out the same and she found help in Moises Henriques who opted out for the BBL 2017 due to mental health reasons.
Henriques would motivate her by sending checking on her, sending positive thoughts via WhatsApp.
In fact, Bolton found help in her fellow teammates including the captain Lanning and Perry.
“You speak to anyone around the country in women’s cricket and she would have had an impact on them in some way or another,” Perry, the Sydney Sixers captain had said. “She’s a great mate of mine and I know she’s got a huge amount of support from everyone. She won’t be a stranger, that’s for sure.”
Bolton’s Scorchers and Australia captain, Lanning, echoed Perry. “It’s a family at the Scorchers and we’re right behind her,” Lanning said. “She knows that so hopefully she can get into a good spot and we’ll see what happens from there.”
The support from her colleagues has been palpable since her return to the Australia squad for the multi-format seven-match Ashes, which starts next month and will kick off a busy international season that includes a tour of Sri Lanka in September, a tri-series involving England and India in January next year, leading up to the home T20 World Cup in February-March. There’s also the first standalone WBBL, running from October to December, on the domestic calendar.
“Coming back into the squad, they were just rapt and even the staff were pumped,” Bolton said. “I never once felt alone, I knew I had the support I just needed a bit of help to get there. To be picked to play for Australia again I think is a massive achievement.
“You get so caught up in the pressure and expectations and it can just grind away at you. Now I feel like I’ve got other things going on in my life that if cricket is not going well, well it’s okay. In time, I hope I can share my experience and maybe help someone else. It was an important time in my life and I’m glad I’ve been able to come through it.”
Quotes courtesy: CricInfo.
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