'It's a tough battle' - Dent's struggle with anxiety

Chris Dent
Chris Dent made his Gloucestershire debut in 2009 [Rex]

Gloucestershire batsman Chris Dent is fighting an ongoing battle with anxiety that has kept him out of action for most of the season.

The 33-year-old, who has scored more than 15,000 runs for his county, appeared in two matches in April but has since not felt able to play.

He did return for a second XI match last month but his struggle continues.

"It’s a tough battle at the minute," he told BBC Radio Gloucestershire.

"I’ve been struggling for a couple of years since Covid.

"I haven’t really spoken much about it, but I’ve been seeking help and trying to improve it but it’s not the easiest thing to battle.

"There’s obviously been a lot of speculation as to why I’m not playing and this is the reason that I’ve been struggling with."

Chris Dent
Chris Dent won the Royal London Cup with Gloucestershire in 2015 [Rex]

Dent is modern great for Gloucestershire having made 11,134 first-class runs, a tally even more impressive given he has opened the batting for the vast majority of his career that began in 2009.

"When I’m away from the ground for a few weeks, everything seems to feel OK," he said. "But when I come back all the same feelings arise and it feels like a vicious circle.

"Initially, I was quite embarrassed about it because I’m one of the older players in the team and I felt this shouldn’t be happening to me.

"My anxiety has got worse and worse as the years have gone on and now it’s at the point where it’s at it’s worst."

'Hopefully, I can find my way through it'

With two years remaining on his current contract, Dent feels he still has more to come as a professional and his reappearance for the second XI included a second-innings 153.

"I’ve been speaking to people and trying to seek help to improve," he said.

"I’ve been getting involved with coaching and trying to add value in other ways while I’m battling this.

"As a batsman it’s really hard because you can put all the right preparation in, turn up, and it can just not be your day."

Starting a coffee business with the help of his family has also kept him busy and he is hopeful a comeback towards the end of the season might be possible.

"Last year I had a couple of breaks from cricket because I couldn’t mentally get out on the field," he said.

"It’s strange it’s happened later in my career but I’ve spoken to people and you can have mental health issues at any stage of your life. Hopefully, I can find my way through it.

"Cricket has been my whole life pretty much. I love the game but it’s just being able to cope with those feelings."