Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh): Former India skipper Rahul Dravid feels that maintaining good mental health is a 'big challenge' and budding cricketers need to look after themselves both on and off the field.
"It is a big challenge. This is a tough game. There is so much competition, a lot of pressure, and kids are playing all year round now. It is a game in which you do sometimes spend a lot of time waiting around, having a lot of time to think. So, you really need to look after yourself on and off the field, and look after stuff like mental health," ESPN Cricinfo quoted Dravid as saying.
Earlier this year, three Australian cricketers Glenn Maxwell, Nic Maddinson and Will Pucovski asked for some time away from the game to look after their mental health.
Maxwell was lauded for taking a break from cricket and Indian skipper Virat Kohli appreciated him for not taking the matter lightly and doing everything possible to get in the best shape.
"It's really important to maintain a certain level of balance in everything you do. Be able to find that balance between not getting too excited when you succeed and not getting too disappointed when you fail. I just think being able to lead a slightly balanced life potentially helps," Dravid said.
Dravid who is the current National Cricket Academy (NCA) head said that he is trying to develop a system where players would be able to get adequate professional help.
"We are also putting a few things in place at the NCA wherein we want to be able to give people an opportunity to talk about these things and address some of these things, and have people that they can speak to," Dravid said.
"So, yes, there has been some work on that as well, wherein eventually we'll get to a point where hopefully we should have professionals on board. I think sometimes some of these things need to be handled by professionals," he added.
The 46-year-old also spoke highly of the current Under-19 cricket team and said that the side is confident of showing good performance in the upcoming U-19 Cricket World Cup.
"We are very confident with the process and preparation we've set up. At the start of the cycle, I tell a lot of these guys who are pushing for spots: 'We'll give you enough opportunities to put your hand up and select yourself and select yourself.' And honestly, hand on heart, at least 40-45 boys can say, 'Hey, we got a chance. We got opportunities," Dravid said.