Former Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar has revealed that he battled anxiety for over a decade in what was an extremely successful cricketing career. He added that after a point of time, he realized the importance of mentally preparing for the game as his anxiety levels would shoot up before matches.
Being Sachin Tendulkar was never an easy task. Especially in the 1990s, he had become synonymous with the Indian batting and was expected to win games for the country day in and day out. There was enormous pressure on the Indian maestro, however, at least, during his playing days, he never gave an impression that it ruffled him mentally.
Now, after being retired from the game for many years, he has revealed the mental demons he faced whilst being one of the top cricketers in the world in a career that spanned 24 years at the highest level. Sachin, who played 200 Tests, 463 ODIs and a T20I for India, asserted that he battled anxiety for over a decade and had to come to terms with not sleeping many times before games and had to do a lot of things to mentally keep himself at ease.
"I felt anxiety for 10-12 years, and had many sleepless nights before a game. Later on I started accepting that it was part of my preparation. Then I made peace with the times I was not able to sleep at night. I would start doing something to keep my mind comfortable," Sachin said during a promotional event, reported TOI.
As much as cricket is about physical preparations, it's about the mental aspect of the game that you need to master. Sachin took a while to realize that but after a point, he started paying heed to the mental side of things due to his anxiety levels.
"Over a period of time I realised that besides preparing physically for a game, you have to prepare yourself mentally also. In my mind the match started long before I entered the ground. The anxiety levels were very high," Tendulkar said.
So, how did Sachin deal with his anxiety before games? He started doing different things and made it a pre-game ritual to keep his mind occupied.
"Making tea, ironing my clothes also helped me prepare for the game. I would pack my bag the day before the game, my brother taught me all of it and it became a habit. I followed the same drill even in the last match I played for India," Sachin recalled.
Sachin also emphasized that having ups and downs is a part of the journey and there needs to be, acceptance not only from the player but people around him too.
"When there is an injury, physios and doctors examine you and diagnose what is wrong with you. Same is the case with mental health. It is normal for anyone to go through ups and downs and when you hit those lows you need people around.
"Acceptability is the key here. Not just for the player, for people around him also. Once you have accepted you start looking for solutions."