We ignored mental health aspect, says Senthilnathan

‘I have proposed that we should have sessions with sports psychologists’

Nathu Singh’s rise to prominence was one of the fairy tale stories of the post-IPL era. The MRF trainee was picked up by Mumbai Indians for ₹3.2 crores in the 2016 IPL auction. However, after making heads turn with his raw pace and swing, the Rajasthan bowler faded away and no longer plays First Class cricket.

Nathu’s case is not an isolated one in Indian cricket and there are many others whose careers have gone off the boil, unable to handle money and fame.

MRF pace foundation head coach M. Senthilnathan confesses that he is disappointed seeing some of the MRF trainees losing their focus.

Disturbing trend

“It is a disturbing trend. We have seen some of our trainees losing focus and fading away. They weren’t able to handle the pressure. IPL made some of them rich overnight, but they couldn’t handle it. Mentally they weren’t strong.

“Nathu is a classic example of a talent going to waste. There are few others who need help. I have proposed to the MRF management that we should have sessions with sports psychologists for the trainees at the upcoming camp.

Change the approach

“Till now we concentrated only on their cricket and ignored the aspect of their mental health. We need to change our approach,’’ said Senthilnathan, who had come to watch the MRF trainees perform in the Vijay Hazare Trophy matches.

Senthilnathan is pleased that MRF Pace Foundation has played a pioneering role in making India rich in the pace bowling department.

Quite pleased

“We have a big pool of talent now. There are at least eight to 10 players who are capable of donning the Indian colours. I am happy to be part of this endeavour.

“The pandemic prevented us from holding our customary camps, but we kept in touch with the trainees through social media tools and gave them workouts to follow.

“They were asked to send videos of their practice sessions and we monitored their progress. If things fall in place we will have a physical camp this summer,” he said.

Senthilnathan is disappointed that no big talents are emerging from Kerala and wants Kerala Cricket Association to act swiftly to address this issue.

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