Both the former and current captains – MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli – advocated the need for a mental conditioning coach stay with the team.
Speaking in the launching session of MFORE, a non-profit initiative of S Badrinath, another former cricketer, Dhoni said that in India players still hesitate to talk about any mental health-related issues.
“In India, I feel there is still a big issue of accepting that there is some weakness when it comes to the mental aspects, but we generally term it as mental illness.”
Dhoni asked , “Nobody really says that, when I go to bat, the first 5 to 10 deliveries my heart rate is elevated, I feel the pressure, I feel a bit scared because that’s how everybody feels – how to cope with that?”
The veteran cricketer said that it could be a small issue that players would not discuss with coaches and others and that is why the relationship between coach and player is very important in any sport.
Dhoni recommended that the mental health coach should stay with the team rather than visiting once in a while. “Mental conditioning coach should not be the one who comes for 15 days, because when you come for 15 days you are only sharing the experience. If the mental conditioning coach is constantly with the player, he can understand what are the areas which are affecting his sport.”
The Indian captain Virat Kohli said that mental health and mental clarity are most important in life and not just in sports.