October 4, 2022
England-W vs India-W 2022 – 1st T20I

India captain Harmanpreet Kaur once again stressed on the need for a sports psychologist to travel regularly with the team. She said the presence of a psychologist allows players to become more comfortable in a team environment to “push too hard at times like these” rather than asking for breaks in the game due to mental fatigue.

“As a team, we discuss these things a lot,” Harmanpreet said on the eve of the first T20 match against England. “Your performance goes up and down, and at times like this it is better to take a break than to push too hard. As a team we want to help that player, and we give players a break when things get going. Very open about taking. Don’t go as you like.”

His comments come a day after England all-rounder Nat Sciver withdrew from the series to focus on his mental health and wellbeing. In the past too, Harmanpreet has been vocal about the benefits of having a mental-health coach whom players can rely on during challenging phases.

Among this year’s major tournaments, the month-long ODI World Cup ended in early April, before the Women’s T20 challenge was followed in the last week of May. Two months later, women’s cricket was included in the Commonwealth Games for the first time, where India made it to the final. Exactly four days later, the second season of The Hundred began, continuing a busy calendar.

“Last year, I went through these things playing back-to-back cricket,” Harmanpreet said. “This year, we had the Commonwealth Games, and there were a hundred [one after the other]But I wanted to take a break. Playing back to back causes mental damage, and sometimes it’s good to take a break [rather] By pushing too hard.”

When India toured New Zealand just ahead of the World Cup this year, Dr. Mugdha Bawre was with the team as a mental-health conditioning coach which, as revealed by Harmanpreet, helped her immensely.

“While we were on the New Zealand tour, [Bavare] We had a well-known person and he helped us a lot,” she said. “I hope we can have him with us in the future as well, because right now we are focusing a lot on our physical fitness and skills. But mental skills are something we need to take seriously.

“We represent our country, and there’s a lot of pressure. Sometimes you just put so much pressure on yourself because you know your sport and your potential, and what you can do to your country. So sometimes Sometimes expecting too much can hold you back.

“At times like these, if you can go up to someone and express yourself and get some idea about your things, that will ease you.”

After scoring 10, 10 and 13 in the first three ODIs against New Zealand in the lead-up to the World Cup, Harmanpreet was ruled out of the fourth game before she scored 63 off 66 balls in the final match. could help. For a consolation win. And right after that, he changed his form in the World Cup, where he scored 318 runs – at an average of 53 and a strike rate of 91 – the second highest for India.

“I spent a lot of time with Mugdha, and got positive results. I started performing again, getting the runs I really wanted to get”

Harmanpreet on Dr. Mugdha Bawre’s presence as mental health conditioning coach earlier this year

Harmanpreet said of Bawre, “She was there when I was going through a lot of things.” “She helped me a lot, and my family and friends were talking to me and telling me every day what I am and what I can bring to the team. I spent a lot of time with Mugdha, and got positive results . I started performing. Again, getting those runs was what I really wanted to achieve for my team.”

Recently, former India men’s captain Virat Kohli spoke about his struggle to cope with expectations, workload and mental fatigue, and for the first time in ten years he “hasn’t touched the bat in a whole month”. Last year, for the WTC final in England and the five-match Test series against the hosts, Kohli had stressed on the importance of managing mental health in view of the travel restrictions since the Covid-19 pandemic.

Almost upon prompting, Paddy Upton was brought back to the men’s set-up this July as a mental conditioning coach, a facility not yet available to women full-time.

Harmanpreet said, “How big a player you are, after a time you need someone – a mental-skills coach – because mental health is as important as your physical fitness and skills.” “We should always have someone with us because this is a part that is easily overlooked – not only on the playing field but off the field as well.

“If we can go to people who can help us on the mental aspects, then things become easier and you feel relaxed, and you feel like you have more areas where you can go and can express themselves.”

S Sudarshanan is the Deputy Editor at ESPNcricinfo

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