Monty Panesar Hopeful to Return to First-Class Cricket After Mental Health Challenge
English spinner Monty Panesar has now opened up about his mental health battles and is hoping to return to the first-class cricket. And has described the shock of being diagnosed with “paranoia/schizophrenia”. Monty believes he has overcome his issues and now is ready to make a return.
In 2013, Panesar played his final Test for England (Boxing Day Test)at the MCG. He was an England regular but depression and excessive drinking caught up to him. And was released by Sussex after a late night incident where he urinated on a bouncer outside a club. Later though, he was included in the subsequent Ashes tour for a while.
Panesar Consulted the Former England Captain and Psychologist about his Mental Health
Panesar told Nasser Hussain about his depression and hopes of coming back at an interview with the Daily Mail. He revealed that he had consulted Mike Brearley, another former England captain, about his mental health. Mike is also a qualified psychologist.
“My parents became worried,” he said. “They wanted me to see someone. I had always thought strong people couldn’t have a problem. I was always the guy who would win games, who had everything in order.
“My cricket had always gone the way I had planned it, but suddenly things started going in a direction I hadn’t experienced since childhood. It had all been up, up, up but this was new territory mentally,” said Panesar.
Despite doctors telling him that he’d never get better, Panesar fought his way back harder.
“It was a guy called Peter Gilmore who said I was suffering from paranoia/schizophrenia and that shocked me massively. Mike Brearley told me to be careful about the things I was saying to myself. Some experts thought I’d never get better but I knew I could fight it, come through it.”
Monty is Back: Panesar
Determined to give his career “one more go”, Panesar has written an autobiography, The Full Monty, and has talked more about his experiences.
“It was difficult,” he said. “Everyone was doubting me. I spoke to [former wicketkeeper turned mentor] Neil Burns and he told me everyone thought I’d gone off the rails. He told me there were so many rumours and I had to put the record straight. I tried to do a couple of interviews to get the message out that I’d had problems, but I was on the way back.
“Now the book will hopefully get everything out there. I love the game. I’m not a bad egg in the dressing room, I’m actually a nice guy. I want people to remember the good Monty, but it takes a while to eradicate bad memories. It’s like I’m a fireball and people are worried that if they get too close to me they’ll get burnt.
After leaving Sussex, Panesar had a brief encounter at the Northamptonshire, where he originally rose to England’s prominence.
And now with depression gone, no drinking habit left he hopes to give one final try to to make a return in cricket.
“I don’t need medication. I don’t drink. And I don’t have good and bad days. All of those things have gone. There was a moment I was at Northampton about 18 months ago and I looked around and thought, ‘Wow, those paranoid thoughts are not there any more’. I knew then Monty was back. I’m going to be a cricketer again. I’m going to do it.”
Overall, Panesar has played 219 First-class matches with 709 wickets in his kitty. He has also played 50 Tests and 26 ODIs getting 167 and 24 wickets respectively.
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