'It can be tough': Cricket 'burnout' linked to mental health issues


Victoria captain Peter Handscomb believes cricket's gruelling schedule is contributing to player burnout.

Handscomb, who has praised Glenn Maxwell and Nic Maddinson for talking about their struggles with mental health, says the amount of cricket being played can cause stress on players.

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Maxwell withdrew from Australia's T20 squad last week to address his mental health concerns while Maddinson has withdrawn from Australia A's tour match against Pakistan.

Will Pucovski was given time away from Australia's squad last summer to deal with well-being matters.

Cricket Australia says Maddinson, who has taken personal leave on a previous occasion, will be given all the support that he needs.

Victoria batsman Nic Maddinson withdrew from Australia A's tour match against Pakistan to address mental health issues. Pic: Getty

The 27-year-old had been in excellent form, notably scoring a double-century for Victoria in last month's Sheffield Shield clash with South Australia.

"It can be tough," Handscomb told RSN.

"With cricket being a 12-month-a-year game now, you can see a bit of burnout starting to come in to players.

"It is hard to stay up for such long periods of time. The stress comes in.

"Credit to both Maxy and Maddo that they've had the strength to step up and talk about it, and say they weren't right, and go and get the help that's required.

Peter Handscomb says player burnout is a contributing factor to mental health concerns. Pic: Getty

"That just shows really strong characters."

Handscomb said that the reason these mental health issues seem more prevalent recently is that players are now talking about an important issue which has been taboo in the past.

"I think it's actually been there for quite a long time," the former Test batsman said.

"I think now we're actually seeing, because it has been talked about more, players step up and recognise that it's in the game and that it's actually OK to talk about it."

‘A real issue in Australia’

Steve Smith has also been a strong advocate for mental health awareness.

During his 12-month ban for the ball-tampering saga, the former Aussie captain toured schools around the country to help educate students on the issues facing professional sports stars.

The 30-year-old weighed into the latest issues facing Australian cricket, during an event in Sydney on Sunday.

"Yeah look I think there's always pressures when you're playing international sport," Smith said at an event in Sydney on Sunday.

"I think it's great that the guys have been able to come forward and sort of ask for help and want to get better.

"That's why I do the work with Gus Worland and Gotcha 4 Life to create an awareness around mental health and particularly for young blokes to be able to talk about what they're going through and try to get better.

"You know it's a real issue in Australia mental health, and anytime that you can create that awareness around it then it's a good thing.

"I think the more you can talk about what you're going through and have a close group of people around you that you can speak about whatever you're going through, I think that's really important.

With AAP