On Wednesday night, former India captain Rahul Dravid was involved in a Rajasthan Royals’ webinar on mental health. During the same, he shared how the mental health issues of non-contracted and Under-19 players have been addressed and given professional help.
Dravid, said, “It’s something we tried in this lockdown (addressing the mental health of players through professionals). We identified outside of the contract list and with the U-19 players. We have given the opportunity to connect to professionalism.”
He added, “As a former cricketer I truly believe that former cricket players, cricket coaches don’t have the expertise to deal with the issues that some of the youngsters have these days. The right thing for us is to direct them to professionals and take it forward.”
Stressing that mental health has been an issue in cricket, Dravid said it’s heartening to see frequent conversations around it now.
“It is a high-pressure environment. In the past, there was a certain stigma associated to admit it but with a few players coming out definitely there has been some better conversation around it,” he said.
Earlier, David was as India U-19 and India A coach and currently is the head of NCA. He opens up about the insecurities he had and how challenging it was to face them. The former India captain also mentions it as the main reason why he loves nurturing young talent.
“It’s quite unnerving for a lot of young players which is why I love working with the Under-19 boys. Or even India A who go through the same amount of insecurities ‘whether I make it or not’. I kind of identity with them, that is something I had experienced myself as a young boy,” Dravid said.
“Think about trying to get into the Indian team was one of the most challenging phases. I made my first-class debut at the age of 17 or so… It took me about five years of first-class cricket to play for India. If I look back, the most complicated time for me would be before when I played for India. When you had those risky decisions to take with doubts and insecurities around,” he recalled.
Dravid also added about committing to cricket completely a big gamble for him.
“When you had the choices of going down with a career in something else and you commit to cricket and take that risky decision and go through with it. You had to sacrifice your education in some ways to take a punt, take a gamble on cricket. It kind of worked out. I never used that degree ever luckily,” he said.