Senior India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara speaks openly about mental health issues that not only athletes playing at the higher level endure, but also faced by people in their general lives.
Over the recent years, the talks of mental health have gained attention and players have also taken breaks from cricket due to focus on the mental aspect of their life.
Cheteshwar Pujara, who has been a significant contributor to India’s overseas success in the last few years, said he has seen even the finest of cricketers have mental problems, which was treated and helped by consultation from sports psychologists. The 33-year-old also feels that our society is not too acceptable in talking about such issues.
“I feel we are very close-minded when talking about mental illness. Sometimes, we can feel I am mentally strong. Sometimes even mentally strong people, they also go through mental health issues. I feel, be open about it. Not worry too much, once you have the right guidance, it will do wonders in your life,” Cheteshwar Pujara said in a YouTube interview for Mind Matters.
“There was a time when I felt I couldn’t handle the pressure. When I had issues in my younger days, I used to go to my mother and cried in front of her saying that I had a lot of pressure and nervousness and I didn’t want to play cricket. But now I know how to handle the pressure.
“I have seen many domestic players finding it difficult to handle pressure when they go to international level. I have seen the best of the players consulting sports psychologists and they always enhance your performance.
“I have consulted them many times and it has helped me. When you deal with the mental aspect you always have questions and to clear those doubts and I saw a different perspective after consulting a sports psychologist. So focus on the process and don’t worry about the outcome.”
Going unsold in the IPL auction hurt me: Cheteshwar Pujara
The right-hander also revealed that it was tough for him to go unsold in the IPL auction year after year owing to his reputation as a Test specialist. The Rajkot batsman last played a game in the IPL in 2014 and wasn’t bought thereafter – until the Chennai Super Kings bid for him in the 2021 auction.
Cheteshwar Pujara joined the 3-time champions for this year’s IPL. However, he couldn’t get a game in the 7 matches CSK played before the tournament was suspended.
“It was tough, if I am very honest. It’s never easy to be left out, to go unsold in the IPL. It hurt me. That is something I can’t control. After a point I realised I had to do things which I can control. I kept on working to get better in the shorter format,” he added.
While he may hadn’t got game time in the IPL, but Cheteshwar Pujara will be one of the first names on the Indian team sheet for the World Test Championship final against New Zealand, which is slated for June 18th at Southampton.