Tuesday, April 16

‘On non-match days, I used to feel like jumping off the balcony’ – Robin Uthappa opens up on his battle against depression

Robin Uthappa. (Photo Source: INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP via Getty Images)

In recent times, the mental health of players has been a serious issue of concern. Many international cricketers have opened up over their struggle with depression and anxiety. Australia international Glenn Maxwell, in the previous year, had received support from every part of the world when he had opened up about his battle against depression. Current Indian skipper, Virat Kohli had also supported Maxwell’s decision to take a break from the game.

Meanwhile, another cricketer, India international and Rajasthan Royals’ Robin Uthappa has opened up on his struggle against depression in the early phase of his career. Uthappa said he had to seek ‘outside help’ to overcome depression between 2009 and 2011. Having made his India debut in 2006, Uthappa revealed that he even had to deal with suicidal thoughts.

Speaking in the latest session of ‘Mind, Body and Soul’, a joint initiative of The Royal Rajasthan Foundation, Uthappa admitted that cricket was perhaps the only thing which kept him from ‘jumping off a balcony’.

“I remember around 2009 to 2011, it was constant and I would deal with that on a daily basis. There were times where I wasn’t even thinking about cricket, it was probably the farthest thing in my mind,” said Uthappa.

“I was thinking about how I would survive this day and move on to the next, what’s happening to my life and in which direction am I heading. Cricket kept my mind off of these thoughts but it became really difficult on non-match days and during the off-season.

“On days, I would just be sitting there and would think to myself on the count of three, I’m going to run and jump off of the balcony but something kind of just held me back,” added Uthappa, who represented India in 46 ODIs and 13 T20 Internationals.

‘I was just not able to score a run off my bat’: Robin Uthappa

Uthappa gradually started the process of understanding himself while making changes in his life. This phase was followed by Uthappa’s poor run of form. According to the right-hander, he wasn’t able to score runs off his bat despite toiling hard in the nets. Uthappa said that people sometimes don’t accept the fact that the problem lies in themselves.

“For some reason there, no matter what I did or how hard I worked in the nets, I was just not able to score a run off my bat. I would spend hours in the nets to get it right but that would just not happen,” said Uthappa.

“Some part of me was actually not willing to accept that I had a problem with myself…I think sometimes we don’t accept the wrong and are unwilling to do so and it is really important to have the acknowledgement.

“The unwillingness to accept is the no one issue and especially for men, who find it difficult to accept their mental issues,” he added,

Uthappa subsequently had a great Ranji run in 2014-15 season, finishing as the top-scorer of the tournament. The batsman hasn’t retired from the game yet but he said that he doesn’t have any regrets on the negative experience of his life. According to Uthappa, such experience aids in one’s growth.

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