Mental exhaustion took such a toll on Glenn Maxwell that the Australian all-rounder wanted his “arm to be broken” during the 2019 World Cup, hoping it would be an “easy escape” from international cricket as he was in desperate need for a break.
The 31-year-old, who had taken a break from international cricket last October for issues related to mental health, on Wednesday opened up about his struggles with depression.
Maxwell recalled a net session before Australia’s World Cup match against South Africa where he and Shaun Marsh were both struck on the arms while batting.
“I knew he (Marsh) was in trouble when he came in, and immediately I felt bad for him. I just thought I hope he’s OK, and if anything, I wish we could swap our news (suspecting Marsh’’ arm was broken),” Maxwell said in the Ordineroli Speaking podcast with Neroli Meadows.
“We went to the hospital together and we were both sitting there, I think both hoping for opposite news. When I got hit, I was angry and a part of me was hoping (my arm) was broken.
“I was like ‘this is it, I just need a break’... I was thinking about things I could do on the way back to snap it. I had anger at other people and it didn’t make sense, but I was angry at myself for not being able to produce at all this World Cup.
“I thought it would’ve been an easy escape because I felt like I was going to get dropped at some stage and I thought maybe this is the way.”
Maxwell had played a Twenty20 series in October against Sri Lanka and he recalled how he wasn’t enjoying anything despite a good show with the bat.
“I batted so well, I got 60-odd off less than 30 (balls) and barely missed the middle...but didn’t really enjoy any of it,” he said.
“You’re taking down an international attack and just not enjoying any bit of it.”
He had taken a mental health break after Australia took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.
Talking about how he divulged it to his team, Maxwell said: “I was about to announce it to the group, they had no idea what was going on, I didn’t even tell (Aaron) Finchy. I didn’t want them to be distracted by what was going on with me.
“I went over to him (Finch) and said ‘I’m done, I’m going to have a bit of time off’, and he said he noticed something was up. Once I told him, he was like, ‘brave decision, well done’.
“Once everyone left, I broke down into tears, it was more...that was the first time I showed any emotion...since the World Cup,” he said.
Despite getting all the support from his teammates, Maxwell said the first few days after he took the break were tough.
“Those next two or three days were probably the worst I’d had in the next six months,” Maxwell said.
“As much as support was great, it was also so confronting...I wanted to go further into my little hole and not come out. I felt like I was letting a lot of people down, I felt like I was taking an easy-out, I didn’t know what I was doing,” he said.
Maxwell eventually returned to captain the Melbourne Stars and was named in the BBL’s team of the tournament.