Ben Stokes has had a remarkable year in international cricket but the star all-rounder has stated that he had to cope with major self-doubts during England’s triumphant World Cup campaign.
In an interview with The Guardian, Stokes said that he had to tackle his fears head-on in order to get the best out of himself on the field.
“I was certainly feeling the strain and I told David Young, our team psychologist, as much as after he invited me for a coffee. He said, ‘How are things, Ben?’ I told him, ‘I’m nervous’ and opened up,” Stokes was quoted as saying in the report.
The 28-year-old had an incredible World Cup this year. He was adjudged the player of the tournament for his all-round exploits and he even won the player of the match award in the final for his gritty knock.
However, Stokes has revealed he wasn’t really as confident on the inside as his persona on the field might have suggested. Before the end of the group stage in the World Cup, when England were scraping to make their way to the semi-finals, he came clear to his teammates about what he was feeling.
“I am nervous, I am anxious, I am worrying about what happens if we don’t win. Believe me, I am worried,” Stokes told his England teammates.
At a time when discussions around cricketers’ mental health are at the forefront, Stokes went on to make an important point about how it’s important for players to share their feelings and emotions with others.
“As professional sportsmen at the top of the game we do have worries,” he said. “We do think of the worst and that’s absolutely fine. There’s no weakness in feeling like that.
“If you don’t get nervous you’re probably telling a little white lie. Embracing the fact that fear is natural. Sometimes you feel fine. You might have a day when you feel awful about what’s going to happen in the game. It ebbs and flows. Just embrace it.”