Mahendra Singh Dhoni is known for being stoic on the cricket field but the former India captain has admitted that just like everyone else, he too feels the pressure while competing.

“In India, I feel there is still a big issue of accepting that there is some weakness when it comes to the mental aspects, but we generally term it as mental illness,” Dhoni was quoted as saying in a press release issued by MFORE.

Dhoni made these comments while speaking to coaches of various sports, in an interaction which was organised before the country went into a lockdown to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

“Nobody really says that, when I go to bat, the first five to 10 deliveries my heart rate is elevated, I feel the pressure, I feel a bit scared because that’s how everybody feels – how to cope with that?” said Dhoni.

“This is a small problem but a lot of times we hesitate to say it to a coach and that’s why the relationship between a player and coach is very important, be it any sport,” said Dhoni, who hasn’t played any international cricket since India’s World Cup semi-final exit last July.

Highlighting the importance of a mental conditioning coach, Dhoni said: “A mental conditioning coach should not be the one who comes for 15 days, because when you come for 15 days you are only sharing the experience. If the mental conditioning coach is constantly with the player, he can understand what are the areas which are affecting his sport.”

India skipper Virat Kohli was quoted as saying that mental clarity was important in life. “I think mental health and mental clarity is the most important factor in life, not just in sports,” he said.

(With inputs from PTI)