ENG-W vs IND-W: Indian women’s team needs a psychologist to address mental fatigue, says Harmanpreet

On the eve of the first T20I, India's women's team captain Harmanpreet Kaur stressed on the fact that it is important to take breaks and address the mental fatigue.

Harmanpreet Kaur in action.

Harmanpreet Kaur in action. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

On the eve of the first T20I, India's women's team captain Harmanpreet Kaur stressed on the fact that it is important to take breaks and address the mental fatigue.

Issues related to mental health and wellbeing have once again come to the fore with England's stand-in captain Nat Sciver pulling out of the limited-overs series against India citing 'emotional fatigue.'

Sciver was named as captain for the series in the absence of Heather Knight. But in her absence, Amy Jones will captain the team against India for the three-match T20I and ODI series, scheduled to begin on Saturday.

On the eve of the first T20I, India's women's team captain Harmanpreet Kaur also stressed on the fact that it is important to take breaks and address the mental fatigue rather than pushing it too hard.

The Indian captain also stressed on the fact that it is important for the Indian team to have a mental conditioning coach, going forward.

"As a team, we discuss these things regularly. For any player, ups and downs happen. When things are not going your way, it is better to take a break rather than pushing yourself too hard. Whenever such things happen and you are not in best of shapes mentally, as a team we try to help that player," Harmanpreet said.

After the Commonwealth Games last month, Harmanpreet took a break to rejuvenate.

"Last time, when I was in a similar situation having played back-to-back cricket, I wanted to take a break because eventually, it affects your mental health if you keep on pushing yourself too hard, so it is better to take a break and then come back fresh," the India captain said.

During the Women's World Cup earlier this year, the Indian team had taken the help of psychologist Mugdha Bhavare and Harmanpreet admits that the players benefitted immensely.

"Right now, she is not with the team, but she was with us in New Zealand and she really helped us a lot. Mugdha was our go-to person and she would listen to us and advise us accordingly. Hope in the future, we can get her with us because you need someone like that," Harmanpreet added.

"Right now, we are paying too much attention to our physical fitness and skills, but mental skills are something we need to take very seriously. We represent our country, so there is so much pressure on us. At times even we ourselves put that pressure because we know our game and ability, so sometimes expecting too much can pull you back. That time you need to go to someone who can help you on your ," the India captain added.

When Harmanpreet went through such a rough phase, she got the backing from her family and friends.

"They were continuously talking to me, telling me everyday that what I can bring to the team. Later, when I got to spend a lot of time with Mugdha, I got lot of positive results and eventually got back those runs and could contribute for my team," Harmanpreet said.

In the World Cup, she scored 318 runs in seven outings. "I have realised that no matter how big a player you are, after a while you need a mental conditioning coach around you. Just like physical fitness, mental fitness is equally important. We need to have someone always with us, that is one part we always tend to ignore - even in the world outside sport. If you go and express yourself to someone, it gets easier for you and you feel relaxed," she said.

A couple of months ago, India's senior men's team appointed Paddy Upton as the mental conditioning coach in its quest to win the T20 World Cup in Australia.

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