Former Rajasthan Royals head coach Paddy Upton has encouraged Indian Premier League players to nurture good mental health during a challenging period for cricket.
International cricket has been suspended as a preventative measure against the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. This year's edition of the IPL, meanwhile, has been delayed.
“Naturally IPL is a huge highlight on the calendar for many cricketers, and a cash cow. Anxiety and depression arise within healthy and normal people, when they spend too much time focusing firstly on themselves, and secondly on the problems that they are having,” Upton told the Times of India.
“I would really caution not only athletes, but everyone, to use their awareness to guard against this very normal threat. The way to overcome it is to focus on other people, caring for them, and at the same time to look for opportunities that are available due to this additional time.
“I didn't specifically prepare a player for things like this, but certainly have had a number of conversations about how they are using their downtime.
“For international cricketers, much of this downtime is spent in their hotel rooms, and I have always encouraged them to be productive about this time, broadening their horizons and furthering their lives, rather than simply whittling this time away by spending the majority of it watching TV series, playing TV games or being on social media.
“The athletes who had interests outside of cricket, and which they can still pursue, will be coping better than those who have made sport the sole focus and purpose of their lives. For this latter group, they will really need to find new interests.”
Upton on IPL delay
The start of the IPL was delayed from 29 March to 15 April. Whether it is subjected to further delays amid strict travel bans and rules from the Indian government remains in the balance.
“It's really unknown whether IPL will happen, as much of the future remains rather uncertain. Some are prophesying months of lockdown and slow down, and others suggest that this is not too far off the regular annual influenza. Time and research will tell when sporting action will resume,” added Upton.