‘In 2014, I didn’t know what to do, what to say,’ Kohli on mental health

The Indian captain Virat Kohli, on the eve of the first Test against Bangladesh, spoke about the importance of mental health and why it should be seen as a negative sign.

“I’ve gone through a phase in my career where I’ve felt like it was the end of the world. In England 2014, I just didn’t know what to do, what to say to anyone, how to speak, how to communicate. To be honest, I couldn’t have said I am not feeling great mentally and I want to get away from the game, because you never know how that’s taken. I think these things should be of great importance because if you think that a player is important enough, for the team and for Indian cricket to go forward, I think they should be looked after.”

Lending his support to Maxwell who took a break from the game due to mental illness, Kohli explained how it’s tough to figure what’s going in a player’s mind and that taking a break could well be the way forward to dealing with the topic of mental fatigue.

“When you get to the international stage, every player that’s in the squad needs that sort of communication and that ability to just speak out. I think what Glenn [Maxwell] has done is remarkable and it sets the right example for cricketers all over the world that if you’re not in the best frame of mind, you try, you try, you try. But I think as human beings you reach a tipping point at some stage and you need some time away from the game,” he said.

“Not to say that you give up but just to gain more clarity and you tend to take more space, which I think is quite acceptable and quite a nice thing to do. I think these things should be respected and not taken in a negative way at all because this is happening at a human level, it’s got nothing to do with what you do on the field or not. Just not having the capacity anymore to deal with things, which I think can happen to anyone so I think it should be taken in a very positive way,” he added.

India will take on Bangladesh for the first Test on Thursday.