Legendary former India batsman Sunil Gavaskar has urged Ben Stokes to reveal the reason behind his mental health struggles as it could potentially help younger players. Stokes has taken an indefinite break from cricket to focus on his mental wellbeing, and will miss the upcoming Test series against India.
“What would help others who are undergoing a similar kind of situation is if the actual reason for this mental health thing was pointed out by these players. For example, is it fear of failure, is it the burden of expectations, is it the fear of opposition or the fear of injuries? These are some of the things that can cause mental stress,” Gavaskar said in a press conference.
“So if Stokes could come out and say this is the reason, it will help a lot of younger players who would be undergoing the same situation, they would think it’s not just them, and that even a great player like Stokes is facing a situation like these. When you just say mental health, it’s a general issue, so I hope somebody would be able to pinpoint the reason and that will certainly help the others.”
Talking about an upcoming battle in the series – James Anderson vs Virat Kohli – Gavaskar said:
“Looking at the way Kohli adapted in 2018, looking at how he was so certain around the off stump and how his shot selection was so immaculate, I would back him. With Anderson as a fast bowler getting three years older and Kohli getting three years more experienced, and given batsmen are around their peak in this age group of 28-33/34, I do think that Kohli will come out trumps.”
Gavaskar predicted India to win the series.
“I left England about 10 days ago and the weather was hot most of the time. I’ve been told it’s raining now. So if the weather conditions are hot for the 22 of the 25 possible days, then India will win 4-0. In case you have a situation where the weather is going to be a factor, then India will win 3-1.
“Regardless, India would want to win since England are a very depleted side (without Stokes, Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes).”