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Former India cricketer pens emotional post describing his mental health battle

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 5 June 2020, 14:16 IST

Former Indian cricketer Dodda Ganesh has inscribed an of the heart post on social media, describing his mental health struggle when he was dropped from the senior national team at 23.

Dodda Ganesh divulged that after being dropped it made him feel like it was an end of the world and that he did not step out of his house for a month.

A right-arm pacer from Karnataka, made his debut for the India in 1997 at the age of 23. he featured in 4 Tests and all of them came overses. He played in just one ODI in Zimbabwe before his career came to a halt.

Dodda held the record for most wicket for a fast-bowler in a Ranji Trophy season (63 wickets in 1998-99). the 21-year-old record was recently shattered by Jaydev Unadkat. Dodda went on to play 104 first class cricket fo Karnataka and scalped 365 wickets. His batting improved ovver the years and amassed 536 runs in 2002-03 Ranji Trophy. But an India call up never came.

Giving an advice to budding cricketers who are going through a similar phase. Dodda urges them to understand that their is life beyond cricket.

"Had to pen down this after seeing various cricketers confessing that they'd suicidal thoughts in their days out of the Indian team. Well, let me share my experience. I, too, was dropped from the Indian team, in 1997. And, I did not step out of my house for a month, in disparity (sic)," Dodda Ganesh wrote on Twitter.

"For me - it was the end of the world. I couldn't stomach the fact that I was discarded without a fair run at the top level. But I was only 23 then and knew I'd a lot of cricket left in me - with age on my side. I decided to burn the midnight oil.

"And with sheer hard work I'd stupendous seasons in 1997, 1998 and 1999. In 1999, where Karnataka ended up being the Ranji champions, I'd picked up a total of 63 wkts (a record for a seamer back then), and was dreaming of a World Cup berth. But it was not to be.

"I was not considered worthy of a comeback. All I could manage was - make the cut for a few India-A tours. It was a dagger through my heart to see bowlers who'd picked much lesser wickets than me being rewarded with the Indian cap.

"Remember, I, too, was in my mid-20s then and young enough for a comeback. Later, with Karnataka being relegated to the plate group post 2000, my dream of an international comeback faded away in front of my eyes.

"There was no IPL back then, to care of your finances and also showcase your talent in a different format. And if you couldn't attract the selectors' attention during the domestic season -you'd to wait for another yr. And with every passing yr my frustration grew by leaps & bounds.

"What was it that quenched my thirst and hunger. What made me cycle for tens of kms daily for practice. The answer was unanimous - it was the sheer love for the game that made me take up cricket, and not the money the game entails.

"And, I felt - irrespective of the level of the game I was playing I should enjoy that I was still playing this beautiful game. So guys who're struggling with depression of being out of the national reckoning, please understand there's life beyond crkt. Live for your loved ones."

Dodda told he wanted to come up with the post after cricketers in the country started to disclose about their mental health issues.

Not long ago, Robbin Uthappa stated that he had suicidal thoughts between 2009 and 2011 and was stumbling to take his mind off such negativity when he was not playing.

"When I made my debut in 2006, I wasn't overly aware of myself. A lot of learning and development has happened since then. Right now, I am extremely aware of myself and really clear on my thoughts and myself. It's easier for me to catch myself now if I'm slipping somewhere in someplace," Uthappa said.

"I feel I have reached this place because I've gone through those tough phases wherein, I was clinically depressed and had suicidal thoughts. I remember around 2009 to 2011, it was constant and I would deal with that on a daily basis.

"There were times where I wasn't even thinking about cricket, it was probably the farthest thing in my mind. I was thinking about how I would survive this day and move on to the next, what's happening to my life and in which direction am I heading."

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First published: 5 June 2020, 14:16 IST