“I started crying, I didn’t expect my dad to say that.” I decided to quit cricket’: R Ashwin opens up about his mental health

Last update: March 18, 2024, 10:40 AM IST

Ravichandran Ashwin says he sought outside help which changed his life for the better.  (BCCI photo)

Ravichandran Ashwin says he sought outside help which changed his life for the better. (BCCI photo)

Ravichandran Ashwin remembers the time he sought advice after deciding to quit playing cricket in 2017.

Ravichandran Ashwin revealed that he decided to quit cricket in 2017 and was planning to do an MBA to build a career in marketing. The star Indian spinner says the pressure of playing professional cricket was so much that it started having a negative impact on his personal life and a fight with his father one fine day left him in tears, after which he stopped watching cricket.

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In a revealing interview with The Indian ExpressAshwin, who recently became the second Indian to take 500 Test wickets, shed light on how constant scrutiny and pressure to perform in a cut-throat world of professional cricket can impact a person’s mental health. player.

“There are many levels of mental health,” Ashwin said. “Some people can give in to pressure. Some people are on the road all the time and can feel jaded. Sometimes you’re in a really dark place in your life and you want to talk to someone, and I think more often than not, people find themselves in the victim situation. Which is a very dangerous situation in my opinion.

“Even though my family supports me and I can come back to my family, I can’t say much. I would say that cricket, in many ways, is a corporate affair with a bit of government organizational activity and trappings. But if I come and talk to my dad about business stuff, he only has one line to say: It’s all politics. And it’s a very big line. And even the fans end up doing the same thing. Sometimes when I’m in a dark situation, I’ve done that a little too. But that’s a very bad thing to do because it feels like someone’s success comes very easily. This is not the case,” he added.

Ashwin then says that he was not able to spend enough time with his young family and during a family discussion, his father once explained to him in no uncertain terms why he was “getting screwed”.

“My wife is a very good listener, but she had a very young family and I didn’t give her enough time. One fine day, we were talking. My father said something. And some internal affair of the house had broken down. And I said something to my father. My father and I argue a lot. And he finally issued a statement: “You know what? You are too upright and honest. That’s why you’re being fooled. He made this statement and left. I’m not an emotional person. I’d like to think I’m strong enough but I just locked myself away. And then I started to cry. I cried for a long time. I didn’t expect my father to say that. I don’t think he even realized what he had done,” Ashwin said.

“I thought I was doing a lot of things to the people in my house. I used to lock myself in the room. I never watched cricket. My room was dark all the time,” he added.

Ashwin then decided to quit cricket, but then sought “outside help” to give him a different perspective which changed his “life for the better”.

“I decided to quit cricket. I wondered what would I do? And I said that whatever I do in life, I will try to achieve excellence and be as good as I can in this profession. I would probably try to get an MBA and probably work in marketing. I gave myself so many options and then thought that before I make a decision I need to get crystal clear. I’ll probably get a stranger’s perspective on my life. And see who I am, where I am. That’s when I sought outside help and it changed my life for the better,” the 37-year-old said.

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