Playing Nice and the India Substitution Story

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 19 July, 2019, 4:28 PM IST


The conspiracy theories doing the rounds following the controversial final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 refuse to die down. While some would suggest that England’s clout overpowered New Zealand’s rightful place as the joint winners, there is another doing the rounds that had it been India and not New Zealand, England would not have their hands around the trophy.

There are big questions over why New Zealand have not been more vocal about the agitation they have suffered over the result. This, while England are going to town, showing off their World Cup trophy and dismissing controversies like swatting flies.

There is a concern that given the magnitude of the final and the manner in which New Zealand went toe-to-toe with the hosts with nothing separating the two teams except for the bizarre Super Over tie rule that declared England the winners based on the most number of boundaries scored, New Zealand’s cricket board does not quite have similar clout to go head-to-head with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the ICC on making an appeal to either reverse the decision in light of the umpiring decisions or declare them joint winners.

While it appears that the larger contingent of cricket fans the world over have taken up cudgels on behalf of New Zealand, there is a contention that had it been India instead of New Zealand at the receiving end of the result at Lord’s, the matter would have been far from settled. With the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) forming the triumvirate of power with Cricket Australia (CA), it seems highly unlikely that the Indian cricket team would have been quite as magnanimous or shy from being drawn into the debate as New Zealand’s captain, Kane Williamson, was in the immediate aftermath. They certainly would not have taken the result lying down, is the larger contention and it seems to hold ground given how the larger contingent of Indian fans and even former cricketers have reacted to the result that went against New Zealand.

Given the monetary clout and cricket’s highly populated fans, India in a similar situation would have been locked in a battle off the field for their equal share of the trophy. While this is purely speculative, what gives merit to the argument is the perception that the reason the recently concluded ICC Cricket World Cup was a shrunken affair with only ten teams as against fourteen and sixteen teams in past editions was not only the broadcasters’ demands for tighter, more competitive matches but also, for fear of another upset such as the one England suffered at the hands of the minnows. That the top tier are protecting themselves and closing ranks is being furthered by this present scenario where New Zealand have been relatively docile and taking in in their stride as far as the blunders in World Cup finals go.

While it seems that New Zealand’s redressal can perhaps come not in a change of result but in another ICC conference when they will have a chance to put forth remedial measures for contemplation, it seems that the cricket world at large is not quite on the same page as New Zealand as far as accepting the status quo goes.

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News Cricket

KXIP release David Miller and Sam Curran, retain Chris Gayle

Staff Writer Updated: 15 November, 2019, 5:39 PM IST


Kings XI Punjab have released David Miller, Sam Curran and Australian pacer Andrew Tye. The left hand South African batsman was a part of the team for eight seasons scoring 1850 runs in 79 games at a strike rate of 138.78. He had accumulated 416 runs and 446 runs in the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

“David has been an iconic player for us. He expressed his desire to move on and we respect his decision. We wish him the very best,” KXIP co-owner told PTI.

In the last edition of the Indian Premier League, he scored just 213 runs in 10 games. Sam Curran, the most expensive buy at the auction in 2019, has also been released. He was their hat-trick hero is last year's IPL.

Varun Chakravarthy, who was bought at last year’s auction for a whopping Rs 8.4 crore, has also been released.

News Cricket

Mayank Agarwal scores second Test double ton of his eight Test match old career

Staff Writer Updated: 15 November, 2019, 3:37 PM IST


Mayank Agarwal is in sublime form since making his Test debut against Australia in 2018. In the ongoing Test match against Bangladesh in Indore, he scored second double ton of his eight Test-match old career. After bringing his maiden double Test century against South Africa in the last Test series, he once again punished the rival bowlers at the famous Holkar Stadium.

Earlier, starting from overnight 86-1, India was in some trouble early as it lost two wickets in quick succession.

After crossing 100 in the 30th over, medium pacer Abu Jayed (3-58) removed Cheteshwar Pujara (54) and star batsman Virat Kohli in the space of two overs.

Pujara started the session in a hurry as he reached 50 off 68 balls. He was then caught at wide fourth slip off Jayed in the 30th over.

The big moment came an over later as Kohli was out lbw for a two-ball duck. The umpire had first refused to give the decision but Bangladesh opted for DRS review and was successful.

Rahane then rescued the innings with Agarwal. The Indian vice-captain was dismissed after scoring a well compiled 86.

On day one, Indian pacers shared seven wickets as Bangladesh failed to take advantage of batting first.

News Cricket

‘Better than Rishabh Pant’: Fans hail R Ashwin for his left-handed batting – Watch

Staff Writer Updated: 15 November, 2019, 3:26 PM IST


India pacemen Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, and Mohammed Shami dominated during Bangladesh’s innings, sharing seven of the 10 wickets. Ravichandran Ashwin could have had more than 2-43 but there were three catches dropped off his bowling, two by Ajinkya Rahane, who had a rare off day at slip.

R Ashwin, who has four Test tons to his name, was seen batting left-handed at the end of first day's play of the ongoing first Test match in Indore. Indian cricket team's official Instagram handle posted a video of the veteran playing shots while batting left-handed.

"No Do not check your phone It's indeed a left-handed Ashwin Batting," the video was captioned.”

The fans were impressed by Ashwin’s ability and one of them even compared him with under fire Rishabh Pant.

"Better than Rishabh Pant", a fan commented.

"Must've learned from Dhoni", another fan said in Hindi.

Pant was recently backed by Shikhar Dhawan.

"I keep telling him that don't see what is being said or written about you in the media. See, the point is that whatever you see or read will come into your mind. I don't read any newspaper. I have trained myself that way because I know that if I have done well, they will write good things and if I don't, they will write that. It is a journey. When I started, I also saw, but that is how you learn. Rishabh is a great talent and he will do really well in the long run," he said.

News Cricket

Sania Mirza's reply to Yuvraj Singh's birthday wish is unmissable

Staff Writer Updated: 15 November, 2019, 3:03 PM IST


Yuvraj Singh and Sania Mirza are close friends and are often seen together during parties. They don't miss a chance to mock each other. As Sania Mirza turned 33 on Friday, Yuvraj Singh shared a picture with her and wrote, "Hai hai mirchi ! Janam din Mubarak my dear friend lots of love and best wishes always ! @MirzaSania," Yuvraj tweeted. Sania came up with a hilarious reply as she wrote: "Hai motu thank you my dearest friend".

Time and again, they have part of online banter. When Yuvraj revealed his clean shaven look, Sania took no time to troll the former Indian all-rounder.

"New look chikna chamela !! or should I bring back the beard?," Yuvraj's post had read.

"Are you pouting to hide the chin under the chin we spoke bout???? Bring the beard back," Sania wrote.

Yuvraj Singh will be seen in action during the T10 league. The veteran was known for his ferocious batting across formats and played a key role in India’s World Cup win in 2011.

News Cricket

Justin Langer wants to defeat India in India

Staff Writer Updated: 15 November, 2019, 2:42 PM IST


Justin Langer, the head coach of Australia, is living with a dead dream since his playing days. The veteran wanted to beat India in India but the Aussies couldn't go past the home team defense despite giving their best try. With Steve Smith and David Warner back in Australia, Langer has once again spoken about his dream. He feels they will become a great team if they can thump India in the sub-continent conditions.

Speaking to ‘ESPNCricinfo’ ahead of the Test series against Pakistan, he said, “It reminds me of how hard it is, that’s for sure,” Langer told ESPNcricinfo of India’ intimidating home form. “It’s always been the case that it’s been hard to win in India. But that’s the expectation and we’ve got a couple of years now to find that maturity I’m talking about, to be nice and battle-hardened and as ready as possible for that series.”

“I think it was an indication of the maturity of our team,” Langer said. “I don’t mean maturity in age but coming together as a group, it takes great skill but it takes time, great mental toughness and endurance, to be able to back it up over and over again,” he added.

News Cricket

Rajasthan want to sign Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, RCB have a brilliant response

Staff Writer Updated: 15 November, 2019, 2:38 PM IST


The online banter between the current IPL franchises is unmissable. During the ongoing trade window, players have moved from one team to another. Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Capitals have done the maximum business in the last few days. All eight teams will release their final list of retained and released players on Friday with 17:00 hrs being the deadline. Ahead of the deadline, Rajasthan Royals urged their competitors Royal Challengers Bangalore to allow them to sign Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers.

It all started after a fan asked Rajasthan Royals if they were willing to trade Sanju Samson to RCB. The Royals came up with a witty reply and even tagged RCB in the tweet, asking if they were ready to trade Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers for Samson.

The Royal Challengers gave a funny reply. “You can have Mr Nags. PS: We know he will eventually find a way back to us,” he wrote.

Feature Cricket

The Pandora of Mental Health Challenges

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 15 November, 2019, 2:24 PM IST


The issue of mental health in the sport has been a long hidden saga. Not wanting to appear ‘fragile’ or ‘incapable’, cricketers in the past opted to either play under duress not evident to the spectator or chose to cut short their illustrious careers. With the number of cricketers speaking out about their problems and owning up to taking time out, the sport must question itself as well as the ways to handle such situations with sensitivity and pragmatism.

Even as the Australian Test squad selection for the home series against Pakistan has come under intense criticism, Cricket Australia, also, have additional problems and challenges they need to tackle head on. Although Nic Maddinson and Will Pucovski withdrew from the Test selection consideration citing mental health issues, Glenn Maxwell became the most high profile name coming out from Australia to announce that he needed time away from the game to sort out his issues.

Shaun Tait, the former Australian fast bowler, was another prominent figure in Australian cricket who had previously withdrawn himself from the game and then returned stating he could only handle the shorter formats. It put an end to Australia’s ambitions for the young bowler. But it was a situation that they need to reconcile with as it could be a case where more cricketers around the world could have genuinely or otherwise opted to play outside of the national scope and indulged in fringe tournaments. Navigating this tricky road is not going to be easy.

Even as the Australian selection committee’s decisions have been once more labelled a muddle, Cricket Australia would take cognizance of the fact that of the three players – Maxwell had been dealing with uncertain selections and his own inconsistent form for years – two of the players were slated to front the team’s line up until they had individually decided to withdraw, citing the need to look after their own emotional health.

It is a grave situation and although it appears Australia is leading the case, England have had their own issues in the past with hugely talented and prolific players such as Marcus Trescothick and South African-born Jonathan Trott having to hide their illnesses for years for fear of either being entirely overlooked or worse still, mocked in an environment of the ‘mentally tough’.

In that context, it would, at first glance, seem strange that prominent, larger-than-life cricketers such as the Indian captain, Virat Kohli, would speak about their own brush with the challenges to do with the mind. Yet one of the key concerns about mental health is that people can go about meeting their professional commitments while still carrying a heavy, untold, inexplicable burden around them until a breaking point.

The sport must also question whether the culture lends itself to the breeding of this seeming epidemic.

It is what makes detection as well as sensitive handling that much more difficult for coaches and modern day dressing rooms to handle, despite having an extensive support staff. It becomes a case of having the discernment to know when a player can be pushed out of the doldrums with a little bit of egging on from the coach and when it is important to give the player space and let him/her decide what is in their own best interest.

In a scenario where handling this situation without jeopardizing the future chances of a player becomes paramount, the onus will be as much on cricketers as it will be on the cricket boards to set a broad outline of when cricketers can be brought under the ambit of ‘handle with care’ and what kind of support the boards are willing to provide in the interest of continuing to invest in the cricketer.

News Cricket

Gautam Gambhir targets MS Dhoni again, terms rotation policy crap

Staff Writer Updated: 15 November, 2019, 2:15 PM IST


Former Indian opener is still nursing a wound of his axing from the playing XI during the CB Series in Australia. MS Dhoni, who was the Indian skipper in that particular series, had dropped the likes of Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag from the playing XI citing rotation policy as the main reason.

MS Dhoni had discussed about his plan with three of them but changed the policy towards the end of the tournament. While Gambhir, who played five game, was the second highest run scorer for his team, Sachin and Sehwag were give seven games despite failing miserably.

“I was made to feel secure just once. During that phase only, I became the ICC Test Player of the Year. India won the triangular series just once in Australia and I was the highest run-scorer. India won a Test series once in 40 years in New Zealand and I was the Man of the Series. I score five consecutive hundreds. This is why it is important to make young players feel secured,” Gautam Gambhir told The Lallantop.

“As far as the rotation policy is concerned, it was absolutely cr*p,” Gambhir added before being asked whether he told the same to Dhoni.

“Yes. I believe that one should follow the captain’s decision but it was complete cr*p. You started with the rotation policy but played all the three in the must-win games. If you take a decision, back your decision, stick to it.”

News Cricket

November 15, 1989: When the 16-year-old Sachin took his first step in international cricket

Tarun Singh Updated: 15 November, 2019, 2:05 PM IST


30 years ago (November 15, 1989), a 16-year-old Sachin Tendulkar made his international debut against the deadliest fast bowling attack of Pakistan in Karachi.

The teenager Sachin was not discouraged when he was bowled for only 15 by Pakistan’s Waqar Younis in that match.

Sachin kept his belief in his batting prowess and proceeded to break all the batting records in the history of cricket.

Sachin started in the fifth gear and within no time in 1992 became the youngest cricketer to touch the milestone of 1000 runs in Tests.

The rest is history. The batting genius Sachin broke record after record and got termed as ‘God of Cricket’.

The legend Sachin Tendulkar, during his 24-year cricket career, has set some milestones of batting which are still unimaginable for many players to achieve.

The master blasters world record of most runs (34,357) in international cricket is still untouched by any batsman in the world.

The second-highest aggregate is of Kumar Sangakkara with (28,016) runs.

Sachin struck a century of centuries in international cricket and nobody stands even near to his century’s record in the world.

To narrate the legend, any statistics would fall short. Sachin is not only adored in India, but he is loved worldwide for his brilliant career.

News Cricket

Watch - MS Dhoni makes a comeback after 128 days

Staff Writer Updated: 15 November, 2019, 12:59 PM IST


MS Dhoni has not played cricket since Team India's exit from the World Cup in England and Wales. He was expected to return to action during the start of the home season but Dhoni extended his break and is yet to announce the date of his comeback.

But it seems the wait is about get over as the former Indian skipper was recently seen hitting the nets for the first time in 128 days. The 38-year old has started working on his fitness and was seen going through his first net session after a long break.

The fans want to see him in action after Rishabh Pant's failure with the willow as well as wicket-keeping gloves.

There were reports that MS Dhoni might don the hat of a commentator for the upcoming first day-night Test between India and Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens, but he is unlikely to turn up for the match keeping his central contract in mind.

News Cricket

Mayank Agarwal scores his third Test hundred

Staff Writer Updated: 15 November, 2019, 12:41 PM IST


The Indian opener is dealing in runs since making his Test debut against Australia. Mayank Agarwal has smashed his third ton in the ongoing first Test match against Bangladesh. The right-hand batsman was unbeaten on 101 runs at the time of penning down this piece of news. His knock was laced with 15 fours and one six.

Earlier, India bowled out Bangladesh for a paltry 150 and was 86-1 in reply after the first day of the test series on Thursday.

Cheteshwar Pujara was 43 not out and Mayank Agarwal on 37 at stumps, combining for an unbeaten 72 after Rohit Sharma fell for a single-digit score — 6 — for the first time as an opener.

India pacemen Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, and Mohammed Shami dominated during Bangladesh’s innings, sharing seven of the 10 wickets. Ravichandran Ashwin could have had more than 2-43 but there were three catches dropped off his bowling, two by Ajinkya Rahane, who had a rare off day at slip.

Mushfiqur Rahim top scored for Bangladesh with 43 runs.

Bangladesh limped to 63-3 at lunch, 140-7 at tea, and lasted only another 27 balls post-tea as it lost last three wickets for 10 runs.

Feature Cricket

IPL 2020: Analysing key players traded ahead of auction

Renin Wilben Albert Updated: 15 November, 2019, 12:13 PM IST


The November 14 deadline for trading players ahead of the IPL 2020 auction to be held in Kolkata on December 19 is over. The last few days have seen a lot of trading action taking place. The biggest news was of course that of Ravichandran Ashwin, who captained Kings XI Punjab in the last two seasons, moving to Delhi Capitals. In exchange for Ashwin, Kings XI Punjab got Rs 1.5 crore apart from spinner Jagadeesha Suchith.

In another significant move, Ajinkya Rahane, the captain of Rajasthan Royals in the 2019 season, has been traded to Delhi Capitals. Rahane was traded by Royals for spinners Rahul Tewatia and Mayank Markande. Interestingly, Markande ended up being traded twice, as he had only just moved to Delhi Capitals from Mumbai Indians. Among other significant trading that took place, Trent Boult has moved from Delhi Capitals to Mumbai Indians, Krishnappa Gowtham from Rajasthan Royals to Kings XI Punjab, Ankit Rajpoot from Kings XI Punjab to Rajasthan Royals, and Rahul Tewatia from Delhi Capitals to Rajasthan Royals.

How the big names traded can impact the franchises

Ravichandran Ashwin

Delhi Capitals’ decision to bring in Ravichandran Ashwin is a bold yet a sensible move. One can question why one more spinner in a team that seems to have slow bowlers in excess. However, the fact is that their two senior spinners, Amit Mishra and Axar Patel, did not have a great run in IPL 2019. While Mishra managed only 11 wickets in as many games, Patel played 14 games for his 10 scalps. Delhi did have Sandeep Lamichhane, who is still raw, and finished with eight wickets from six matches.

Ashwin, on the other hand, is a proven performer in IPL and, unlike what may be the case with Mishra and Patel, is definitely not past his prime yet. An IPL veteran, the off-spinner has played 129 matches for various franchises, and has 125 wickets at a strike rate of 23.39. In 2019 for KXIP, Ashwin claimed 15 wickets at a strike rate of 22.00. Delhi will look to make the best use of his spin expertise.

Ajinkya Rahane

The Indian Test vice-captain, who has been a constant with Rajasthan Royals for many years, will join Ashwin at Delhi Capitals. Rahane is not viewed as a match-winner in T20Is, but he scores consistently to make up for his lack of strike rate. In 2019, skipper Shreyas Iyer, veteran opener Shikhar Dhawan and maverick wicket-keeper bat Rishabh Pant were the key performers for Delhi as they managed to make the play-offs after many seasons. The decision to bring in Rahane must have been made with a view to lend further stability to the batting. Rahane has 3,820 IPL runs in 140 matches at a strike rate of 121.92.

Trent Boult

The Kiwi left-arm seamer Trent Boult is an addition to Mumbai Indians’ already impressive pace bowling unit. Jasprit Bumrah has been sensational for Mumbai Indians for a few seasons now, and was one of the key factors behind MI lifting the title last year -- with 19 wickets from 16 matches. However, though Lasith Malinga also picked up 16 wickets from 12 games, he was highly expensive, conceding runs at an economy rate of 9.76 . This is perhaps why Mumbai wanted one more quality pacer in the squad. Boult claimed only five wickets in as many games for Delhi last season, but Mumbai know he can be utilised better.

Krishnappa Gowtham

While KXIP let Ashwin move to Delhi, they got all-rounder Krishnappa Gowtham from Rajasthan Royals. Gowtham was purchased by RR for a big sum of Rs 6.2 crore in 2018, and he repaid the faith with some significant efforts -- 11 wickets at a strike rate of 21.81, and 126 runs at a strike rate of 196.87. However, he couldn’t replicate the form in 2019. Still, he is a high-quality utility player, the kind a struggling KXIP need to give them an x-factor.

Opinion Cricket

Will T-10 spread its wings globally?

Partab Ramchand Updated: 15 November, 2019, 11:50 AM IST


Once T-20 cricket made its appearance and became immensely popular it was only a matter of time before T-10 made an appearance. And now that it has in the UAE where the third edition of the T-10 league commences on Friday there is little doubt that the format is already popular going by the crowds that thronged the stadium during the first two editions. The question now is where to draw the line on abbreviated forms of the sport. Should five over matches be the next logical step?

Whether cricket comes to that one can never tell but the fact remains that that the success of the T-10 league has prompted those responsible for conducting the UAE event to look ahead for an international expansion and that was always going to be the next inevitable step.

The ICC-sanctioned event currently operates with the approval of the Emirates Cricket Board and the authorities are clear that the game’s newest and shortest format will only exist in commercially viable markets, where it is held with the collaboration of the respective national boards. They have spoken favourably of the USA, England and South Africa as potential markets. The USA, in particular can benefit from the infiltration of the league, which can help in the growth of the sport in the country. But one cannot rule out Australia as another potential market given the popularity of the short formats in that country. It must not be forgotten that Australia played a pioneering role in popularizing both ODIs and T-20 cricket.

The introduction of T-10 does raise questions of cricket’s desire for easily digestible versions for the masses. Where will this dilution end? At what point do we say enough is enough? This question was asked when T-20 made its appearance and it is no surprise that it is being raised again regarding T-10. That of course should not mean that T-10 will not spread globally or became as popular as T-20. Indeed once it gains global momentum perhaps we will see the inaugural edition of the T-10 World Cup.

Yes, there will be question marks over the validity of such shrunken cricket but I don’t think it will fail to win legitimacy and acceptance by the masses who increasingly are looking for ``cricketainment’’ – the phrase coined by the IPL and being used in the UAE. And if T-10 is played between countries then the competition will gain further acceptance.

The format may have its detractors but so did ODIs and T-20 when they were first played. The first was dismissed as ``pyjama cricket’’ and the second was ``slam bang cricket’’. Over time they have come to be accepted even as competitions which involve skill and matters of strategy and tactics. If in T-20 the margin for error is very small one can imagine what it will be in T-10. England all-rounder Liam Dawson who took part in last year’s tournament has explained how one has to adapt and how alterations in pace are aiding his T-10 game. ``Each ball of the maximum two overs a bowler can send down is treated essentially as a death over,’’ as he put it.

The players themselves are enjoying the challenges and popularity of T-10 cricket. Playing with freedom has brought the best out of batsmen in particular and the fun they are having on the pitch has certainly infiltrated the supporters in the stands. The competitiveness is fierce and initial indications are that T-10 is ready to spread its wings.

Videos Cricket

Watch - Reporter's clean and pure Hindi clean bowled R Ashwin at press conference

Staff Writer Updated: 15 November, 2019, 11:44 AM IST


R Ashwin bowled really well in the first innings of the ongoing Test match against Bangladesh. However, he had to face a tricky situation when he was told to attend a presser after the first day's play. The off-spinner was asked one of the questions in Hindi which made him uncomfortable considering he hails from Southern part of India.

Ashwin, who is known for his witty nature, revealed that he is working hard on improving his Hindi-speaking skills but the question was difficult to handle.

The reporter asked him a lengthy question, which made Ashwin confused.

The journalist asked, "What is the behavior of the new and old pink balls during practice session so far and will the pink ball see an increase in the ratio of outright results?

Ashwin was seen scratching his head before congratulating the person for his impeccable Hindi.

"With a lot of hard work, I actually managed to start speaking in Hindi. Over the years, my Hindi has gotten better, but I have not heard a question in such "clean and pure" Hindi! So, congrats to you for that. I am actually still thinking what the question was".

He continued saying, "Having said that, I think the next Test, the pink-ball game, is a great welcoming sign. As a Test-playing country, it was necessary for India since people who miss cricket because of work will come and watch.

"Obviously with the pink ball, there are potentially more challenges. The ball will have more lacquer and will move more in the next match. Personally I think it's the right direction we've taken, hopefully, the Test match will be a historic moment and the start of many more to come".

News Cricket

Players’ mental health becoming major issue in cricket

AP Updated: 15 November, 2019, 11:34 AM IST


A serious health concern is emerging in Australian cricket. The first test of the home summer starts in Brisbane next week and Australia have three players out of the selection frame because of mental health reasons.

Veteran all-rounder Glenn Maxwell and ex-test batman Nic Maddinson made themselves unavailable for the series against Pakistan before 21-year-old Will Pucovksi informed selectors that he didn’t want to be considered for national duties.

Pucovski was playing in an Australia A tour game against Pakistan in Perth when he made the call, and the decision was announced Thursday, hours before Australia’s chairman of selectors, Trevor Hohns, was due to announce the test squad.

The mental health issue isn’t isolated or, seemingly, new in cricket. Senior England batsmen have left tours going back more than a decade because of mental health issues.

And India captain Virat Kohli spoke openly this week about his own struggles. Kohli is one of the world’s premier batsmen and respected leaders, and is involved in a home series against Bangladesh.

“I’ve gone through a phase in my career where I felt like it was the end of the world,” he told a news conference in India. “In England 2014, I didn't know what to do, what to say to anyone, and how to speak and how to communicate. And to be honest, I couldn't have said ‘I'm not feeling great mentally and I need to get away from the game.’ Because you never know how that's taken.”

That kind of statement is being taken seriously by the sport’s administrators now.

Cricket Australia national teams manager Ben Oliver commended Pucovski “for having the courage to discuss his situation."

"Will's decision not to nominate for test selection was the right one in the circumstances,” Oliver said. “By Will bravely taking this position, he will undoubtedly inspire others facing similar challenges to speak up and take positive steps toward improving their mental well-being.

“The most important thing now is for Will to be given the time, space and expert support that he needs to return to full health as soon as possible.”

The 31-year-old Maxwell, who has played seven tests, 110 one-day internationals and 61 Twenty20 internationals, has been in and out of the Australian team throughout his career. He withdrew from selection during a series against Sri Lanka last month.

Maddinson, who was rushed into the Australian team against South Africa in 2016, has played three tests but didn’t appear comfortable at the highest level of the game. He ruled himself out of national selection not long after Maxwell’s announcement last month.

Pucovski played the first of his 18 first-class games in 2017. He has a high-score of 243 and a first-class average of almost 41. He was set for a test debut in January but withdrew, citing mental health issues. He was back in calculations for this southern summer before making the same call.

Cricket Australia’s sports medicine manager, Alex Kountouris, said player welfare was paramount.

“There is much society still needs to learn in relation to mental health, but we know enough to say with great certainty that silence is not the answer,” Kountouris said. “Will has demonstrated great strength in being open about his situation. While no one wants to see a fine young man like Will confronting mental well-being issues, we are heartened by the fact he is surrounded by excellent people who will support him.”

Kohli described the example set by Maxwell as “remarkable.”

“He set the right example for cricketers all over the world — that if you’re not in the best frame of mind, you try and try and try, but as human beings you reach a tipping point and you need time away from the game,” Kolhi said. “These things should be respected and not taken in a negative way.

“This is happening on a human level, it’s got nothing to do with what you do on the field. It’s not having the capacity anymore to deal with (everything), which I think can happen to any person in any walk of life.”

Ex-England captain Marcus Trescothick quit a tour of India in 2006, initially cited a viral problem, but later said it was related to mental health.

“I didn’t have a clue what was happening. I wasn’t aware of depression but whatever was going on, I didn’t want to have to say anything about it on TV,” Trescothick told Men’s Health magazine in 2016. “I was terrified.

“There was a lot of naivety and ignorance. People would say ‘What do you have to be depressed about? You play cricket for England. You travel the world. You get paid well.’ To try and experience the dark place when you’ve never experienced it is very tough.”

England opener Jonathan Trott left an Ashes series in Australia after one test in 2013, saying later he’d struggled in the previous series and didn’t know how to cope.

So-called mental toughness has long been a part of cricket, where sledging — often nasty banter between players — was a fundamental part of the game. That has been changing over the last decade. Cricket Australia has had a full-time sports psychologist working with national teams and player development squads.

Robert Craddock, a long-time cricket analysist and television host in Australia, said cricket was facing a mental health crisis. He said while it may not be a contact sport “its mental challenges, with so much waiting time, are much tougher than they look.”

“Even though cricket is only starting to go public with its mental issues, it has always been a supremely demanding mental game,” Craddock wrote in a column for News Corp. “The victory of the current crisis is that at least players are talking.

“If the current issues have taught us anything it is that success and failure can sometimes have little to do with it, and that the causes of the anguish are many and varied.”