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Cricket players will need more mental health support, says coach Upton

Video Credit: Reuters - Sports
Published on May 19, 2020 - Duration: 05:54s

Cricket players will need more mental health support, says coach Upton

Paddy Upton believes the coronavirus lockdown has been traumatic for many cricketers and teams will have to change their approach to mental health when the game resumes.

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Cricket players will need more mental health support, says coach Upton

SHOWS: BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND, UK (FILE - JULY 10, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1.

AUSTRALIA NETS SESSION UNDERWAY 2.

STEVE SMITH BATTING 3.

BATSMEN IN NETS CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA (MAY 18, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 4.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) MENTAL CONDITIONING COACH, PADDY UPTON, SAYING: "The main thing is every player would have gone through their own and often quite traumatic trauma cycle; is the word I would use.

Of having had corona all of a sudden pull the carpet out from underneath at least their, temporarily for their careers going on this season.

It's not dissimilar to an athlete suddenly having an injury when they never expected it and knowing I might be out two, three, four, five months.

So, it's having to deal with being at home, not being able to play, not being able to train.

Now there's the additional thing of not being able to go outdoors, not being able to go to the gym." LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (FILE - JULY 13, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 5.

NEW ZEALAND BATSMAN ROSS TAYLOR PUTTING ON HELMET AND WALKING OFF TO BEGIN NETS SESSION WHILE CAPTAIN KANE WILLIAMSON IS PUTTING ON HIS THIGH GUARD 6.

WILLIAMSON BATTING 7.

TRENT BOULT BOWLING CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA (MAY 18, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 8.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) MENTAL CONDITIONING COACH, PADDY UPTON, SAYING: "The attention to players' mental health, those who might be experiencing mental difficulties in good times is really not that comprehensive.

It's quite light and we're going through an unprecedented time now where a number of players for very different reason that what would normally have, would have gone through various mental and emotional turmoils.

Particularly, you know, I lot of them would have gone through financial concerns.

You know, they've missed an IPL (Indian Premier League), for example a number of them, and if in good times there's very little support or awareness or platform to be able to manage their mental struggles, I would imagine then at the moment that's been exacerbated and we just don't really know how well players are coping behind closed doors." MANCHESTER, ENGLAND, UK (FILE - JULY 8, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 9.

INDIA NETS SESSION UNDERWAY 10.

MAYANK AGARWAL BATTING 11.

MS DHONI (LEFT) AND KULDEEP YADAV (WITH HELMET) TALKING CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA (MAY 18, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 12.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) MENTAL CONDITIONING COACH, PADDY UPTON, SAYING: "I do think that now athletes, as I said, I think that some need more mental support than what they've ever needed before, because it pressures on them personally, not performance pressures now, we're not dealing with performance pressures, we're dealing with personal pressures and those could be significant.

I do think, as I said earlier, smart teams are going to sit down and go right, what are the new dynamics that we're going to have to deal with in these post-COVID sporting activities and how can we prepare these athletes, and all we need to do is we need to prepare out team and our athletes better than any other teams in that same tournament are preparing their athletes.

Because there's a lot of unknown, but guarantee it, whenever the first World Cup comes along, you'll have some teams who've figured out the psychology of this post-COVID existence.

They will be set up to perform better and you'll have some teams that have ignored the brand new challenges to individuals around this post-COVID time and those teams will have individuals who are highly talented, but mentally just not coping with whatever this new normal is that we await in sport." LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (FILE - JULY 13, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 13.

ENGLAND BATSMAN JASON ROY BATTING 14.

JONNY BAIRSTOW BATTING 15.

BEN STOKES BATTING CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA (MAY 18, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 16.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) MENTAL CONDITIONING COACH, PADDY UPTON, SAYING: "It seems like most sports and most governments and most industries are taking a fairly conservative approach to returning to participation, so, it'll be interesting to see just how conservative or aggressive the ICC and the various cricketing nations take this.

But I don't see it, with all things being equal, I don't see us playing cricket for a fair number of months still.

You know, international travel is in a lot of places isn't open and it doesn't look like it's going to be opened at least in the immediate future." LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (FILE - JULY 15, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 17.

STOKES, MAN OF THE MATCH IN THE 2019 ICC CRICKET WORLD CUP FINAL WHICH ENGLAND WON AGAINST NEW ZEALAND, AMONG TEAM MATES DURING THEIR VICTORY CELEBRATIONS 18.

VARIOUS OF JOE ROOT WITH WORLD CUP TROPHY STORY: The novel coronavirus lockdown has been a traumatic experience for many cricketers and teams will have to change their approach to mental health when the game resumes, mental conditioning coach Paddy Upton has said.

Cricket, the South African added, does not have a good track record of managing players' mental health, which is likely to suffer as the game's suspension drags on.

"Every player might have gone through their own 'trauma cycle' after the coronavirus suddenly pulled the rug out from under their feet," Upton, who worked with India's 2011 World Cup-winning team, told Reuters on Monday (May 18).

"It's not dissimilar to an athlete suffering an injury and being forced to sit out for months.

It's about having to deal with not being able to play or train.

Now there are also issues such as not being able to go outdoors." United Nations health experts have warned of a looming mental illness crisis, with millions surrounded by death and disease and forced into isolation, poverty and anxiety.

Cricket, like most sports, ground to a halt in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the future of this year's marquee tournaments such as the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Twenty20 World Cup in Australia hangs in the balance.

Upton said some players could benefit from the enforced break, but others were struggling with financial worries and the emotional stress of being cut off from the game and their team mates.

"Attention to players' mental health in good times is not that comprehensive and we're going through an unprecedented time where a number have gone through various emotional and mental turmoil," he added.

"If in good times there's very little support to manage their mental struggles, I imagine at this stage it would be exacerbated.

We don't really know how well players are coping behind closed doors." The International Cricket Council is exploring ways to restart matches, but Upton believes the suspension could last several more months.

"I don't see us playing cricket for a fair number of months," the 51-year-old said.

"International travel isn't open and it doesn't look like it'll change in the immediate future." When the game does resume, only teams who adapt to the post-COVID-19 landscape will thrive, added Upton, the former Performance Director of Cricket South Africa.

"I think some athletes need more support than ever before," he said.

"They're not dealing with performance pressures but there are personal pressures.

"Smart teams are going to sit down and figure out the new dynamics.

I guarantee whenever the World Cup comes along, you'll have teams who figure out the psychology of this post-COVID existence.

They will be set up to perform better." (Production: Hardik Vyas, Stefan Haskins)

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