Australia coach Justin Langer on Thursday said Glenn Maxwell’s jovial persona was a mask that he wore while battling his mental health issues and things have not been well with the all-rounder for a year.
Maxwell announced a “short” but indefinite break from the game through a Cricket Australia statement on Thursday. According to CA, Maxwell told the team’s support staff that he was struggling with his mental health and the Board, along with his state side Victoria, are backing him in this period.
“There’s been a few times over the last 12 months where I’ve suspected that he was probably battling a little bit, but mainly in Adelaide last week before the first game,” Langer was quoted as saying by ‘ESPNCricinfo’.
“A few little things just weren’t quite adding up. I just asked how he was going and he said, ‘No, I’m not going that well actually’. I’m pleased he feels he has got that trust in the environment to be able to do that and he has got to do some work now to get himself right,” he added.
Maxwell’s decision comes days after he hammered a 28-ball 62 in Australia’s massive 134-run win in the opening Twenty20 against Sri Lanka. He did not get to bat in the second match which the hosts won by nine wickets to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
The 31-year old, who also bowls off-spin, has played 110 ODIs, 61 T20s and seven Tests for Australia. He has managed just one century each in Tests and ODIs but has three hundreds in T20Is.
“Behind the mask of the great entertainer and the great talent and the great team man and everything we see publicly - a lot of these guys, they are human and they are hurting a bit. Hopefully, he’ll be fine,” Langer said.
“Even though in Adelaide he had that brilliant innings and he fielded like a genius like he can, I don’t think he got much joy out of it to be honest and that’s not much fun,” he added.
Langer said despite Maxwell’s jovial outward persona, he understood that there were issues he was dealing with.
“That’s the mask he puts on; it’s his armour, his energy and the way he plays. He is the great entertainer but underneath the mask - you probably just sense it. When you build relationships with people, you sense when they’re not quite right,” he said.
Langer also said that the amount of travelling that a modern-day cricketer endures is contributing to his general stress.
“I think just mentally and physically it’s exhausting and we’ve always got to try and find the balance,” Langer said.
“That’s part of the world we live in now and I’m sure that’s a part of how he’s feeling.”