A BATTING WITH BIMAL BREAKING REPORT: Steven Davies opens up about battle with depression

Davies felt that his career was going nowhere

In an alarming trend that has started to creep in amongst numerous England county players, Surrey wicketkeeper Steven Davies is just the latest cricketer to open up about his struggles with depression.

Davies revealed that he was severely depressed towards the end of the 2012 county season after having gone through the painful ordeal of losing Tom Maynard, who died in a freak accident on the London underground in June last year.

After the death of Maynard, Davies’ form took a drastic hit and his chances of making the national team were all but over.

For a brief period, the wicketkeeper was even dropped by Surrey in hopes that he would get his act together, which he eventually did towards the last few games of season.

Davies was sidelined for Surrey’s crucial match against Nottinghamshire in September last year, which they won and claimed division one status for this year’s county season.

At the end of last season, Davies announced that he would be taking some time away from cricket, but recently he made his return and has his old fresh and upbeat attitude back.

“I took a bit of a break at the end of last season,” Davies told Surrey TV. “I suffered with depression and took a few months off and it’s done me the world of good. I spent some time with my family and now I’m fresh and ready to crack on this year.”

Maynard’s death took a drastic toll on Surrey captain Rory Hamilton-Brown since they were flatmates and a short while after stepping down as skipper, Hamilton-Brown decided to move back to Sussex for this year’s county season.

“Last year was tough for everyone,” Davies said. “It affects people in different ways. For me, I really struggled. I knew I just needed some family time. I had a bit of break away and now I’m ready and really looking forward to the 2013 season.”

Depression has recently become a serious issue in cricket, with players such as Marcus Trescothick, Matthew Hoggard and Iain O’Brien all feeling its effects.

O’Brien recently contributed to a Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) awareness programme and related his experiences, while also explaining how cricketers can avoid the path of depression.

Trescothick himself wrote a book on dealing with depression and a copy was given to every PCA member this year.

After announcing that he would be taking a break from cricket, Davies ended up touring the world with musician Elton John.

Davies is one of the small number of open gay sportsmen in the UK and joined John on his tour after being offered the opportunity to do so.

“Since I came out, we’ve bonded,” Davies said. “He’s looked after me in many ways, he knew I was going through a hard time and I mentioned that I was going to take some time away from cricket. He said that winters in England can be a bit depressing and he asked me ‘Why don’t you come on tour with me?’ … I had a great time. It’s a different world that he lives in but it was great to experience it.”

With the new domestic season right around the corner, Davies has expressed his excitement at the new talents Surrey signed over the break.

South Africa captain Graeme Smith will lead the county side and veteran batsman Vikram Solanki will boost Surrey’s chances of winning the county championship this year.

Davies’ spirits have been rekindled by the new additions and he truly believes that a fresh start could help him regain a spot on the national team.

“I had some time away from cricket but really kept up my strength work,” Davies said. “I spent a lot of time in the gym getting my core strength up. County seasons are long – you need to be strong and fit.

“Initially it’s getting back into things and doing well for Surrey. We’ve got a great squad this season and have recruited some experience. I feel like we’re going to do great things and it’s about scoring my runs and taking my catches. After that it’s about getting back into the England set-up. It’s where I want to be and it’s why I play the game of cricket.”

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