Mental health break put Maxwell in good shape to cope with pandemic

Australia's Glenn Maxwell kisses his helmet after scoring a century (100 runs) during the first T20 international cricket match between Sri Lanka and Australia at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Pallekele on September 6, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI

MELBOURNE: Glenn Maxwell’s break from cricket a year ago to deal with mental health issues proved timely in helping him build the tools to handle the stresses of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Australia batsman said on Friday.

Maxwell withdrew from cricket early in the last home summer before returning in the Big Bash League in January and has played his cricket in biosecure “hubs” since the pandemic hit.

Having just played the Indian Premier League (IPL) in a bubble in the United Arab Emirates, Maxwell is back in quarantine in Australia ahead of the white-ball series against India which starts with a one-day game in Sydney on Nov. 27.

India’s tour will mean further biosecurity demands on players but Maxwell said he now felt better able to cope with them.

“In hindsight it was probably a pretty good time to go through something like that where I was able to put some groundwork in to deal with adversity,” the 32-year-old told reporters of his break last summer.

“And this year has certainly been a massive test, to put some of my learnings to use and help other people through that and be a shoulder for other people to lean on.

“That’s something I didn’t expect last year but to be able to help people through tough times and be able to get myself through those tough times has been key as well.” The hard-hitting all-rounder was the second-most expensive foreign player in the IPL behind Australia team mate Pat Cummins but had a quiet tournament by his standards.

He scored 108 runs at an average of 15.42 for Kings XI Punjab and did not hit a six the whole tournament.

That has raised queries about his form leading into the India series, but Maxwell, who scored a brilliant 108 against England’s one-day side in September, was unperturbed.

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