Glenn Maxwell has given a peek into his mental psyche during the mid-2019 phase, detailing the demons that forced him to take a break from cricket in October 2019. The Australia all-rounder recalled being mentally exhausted to a point where he wished a hand injury upon himself at the World Cup in England so as to be ruled out of the game.
Recounting events from a net session before the South Africa game in Manchester, the 31-year-old revealed that he had slipped into a dark place although he didn’t know then that he was battling mild depression and anxiety. During a competitive net session at Old Trafford, both Maxwell and Shaun Marsh had been struck on the arms. Where Marsh was ruled out of the World Cup, Maxwell played until Australia’s exit in the semifinal, finishing with modest returns of 177 runs from 10 games at 22.12.
“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 [Marsh’s arm was broken],” Maxwell said in the Ordineroli Speaking podcast. “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 began Australia’s home season in late October by smashing a 28-ball 62 against Sri Lanka in the first T20I and then effected a brilliant run-out from the deep while being mic-d up with the broadcasters. However, four days later, he had not enjoyed any bit of that and communicated to the team that he needed a break.
“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.
“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. Those next two or three days were probably the worst I’d had in the next six months. 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 eased his return to competitive cricket by participating in the Victoria premier club cricket in late November and then captained Melbourne Stars to the final of the Big Bash League, a tournament in which he hit 398 runs from 17 games at a strike-rate of 148.51. Maxwell was scheduled to return to the national team for the limited-overs tour of South Africa before an injury to the elbow, which was subsequently operated upon, delayed his international comeback