Anxiety: A Silent Killer

I focussed on mental health in men when I wrote on the Mental Frailty in Cricket. This by no means undermines the effects of mental illness in women’s cricket. The pressures that women face in cricket is immense. Programs like All Stars Cricket, Chance to Shine and Kia Super League have made it easier but I do not think that things have progressed as much as it should have. My relative played for India in the ’90s and I know that it was tough for her then. The reality is that women can play cricket for a shorter period than men and not all of them can make a successful transition to cricket related jobs after they retire.

Sarah Taylor made her Test debut on 8th of August 2006. Marcus Trescothick played his last Test for England ten days after that in a game that will be shrouded in controversy for years to come. I consider Sarah Taylor to be the best wicketkeeper in cricket for the past twenty years and it will take a special person to overtake her. I am sure that fans of Dhoni will disagree with me but the difference in dismissals per innings between Taylor and Dhoni is only .165 but Dhoni is nearing if not at the end of his career while Taylor retired last year because of anxiety when she has not, in my opinion, reached her peak. Adam Gilchrist called her the best wicketkeeper in International Cricket. He is not a person who will just throw an accolade on a person and I am not one either. My index shows that Taylor has scored her fielding points at a rate of 6.24%. In contrast, Dhoni has 2.5% and Gilchrist has 2.98%. These points are for their One Day Internationals fielding only and do not factor in batting. I would not hesitate to call her the Bradman of wicketkeepers because of the rate at which she has scored her points.

How do you define anxiety, the feeling of being anxious or the level? I had a major epileptic seizure in an underground station about eight years back and I still try my best to avoid even passing through that station let alone get off on it. I can feel the beating of my heart vibrate through my body and I start to visibly perspire. Anxiety is a mental illness but it manifests itself in very real physical symptoms which can be misdiagnosed but worse still is that most of the people will not be able to understand what you are going through. I have supported and been critical of the ECB depending on their actions because I care for English cricket. I do believe that The ECB has provided Sarah with all the help that she needed but sadly it was not enough. I was shocked and saddened in equal measure when I heard about her retirement but the best thing a person can do is to walk away from situations that enhance their anxiety even if it means that it is something that they love and cares about deeply. 

It was Sarah’s birthday on the 20th and I hope she has a great year ahead. I do believe that she will go on to do something special. Mental Health has become a word that has been recklessly used by people and the example that they set are far from ideal for those who not only most need it but are most impressionable. I have always believed that cricket is a great force that has the power to make a positive difference all over the world. I have hope for the future with people like Marcus Trescothick, Sarah Taylor and Kate Cross leading the way. These are the people who are helping deal with the mental side of the game which according to Stuard Broad deals with 90% of the game. People like them are the heroes we need to attract a fresh audience to cricket. 

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