Friday, 25 March 2011

Yardy should be applauded

Michael Yardy is an incredibly brave individual. It takes a very special kind of person to admit he has an illness that many people will still perceive as some form of weakness of mind. Geoffrey Boycott's comments yesterday were, at best, unfortunate. Given that Boycott has, himself, been seriously ill in the past it is all the more galling that he can come out with such drivel. Depression is a horrible thing for someone to have to deal with. At its worst it can lead to the most hellish of personal thoughts and can be, make no mistake, life threatening.
I can only assume that "Sir" Geoffrey has never read Marcus Trescothick's quite magnificent autobiography. Trescothick's incredibly frank and candid account of his own battle with depression is enlightening - anyone who thought depression was a weakness would be made to understand the physical and emotional effect it can have on an individual - no matter how "macho" they are supposed to be.
I applaud Michael Yardy for going public with his problem and being big enough to walk away from the World Cup. Steven Davies was widely praised and revered for coming out as gay just before the World Cup began - I believe Yardy's announcement is far more brave. I hope that he can return to Sussex and have another successful season, hopefully following in the footsteps of Trescothick who has thrown his heart and soul in to playing for Somerset.
It's worth, perhaps, making an observation on the cricket press at this stage. I strongly suspect that most of the press corps in India were aware that something was not quite right with Michael Yardy's frame of mind. However, at no point was it reported. By the same token Sky are now showing a few seconds of footage that see Yardy breaking down in tears while sitting out a practise session - only after Yardy's announcement has this footage been made public. Had this been a Premier League footballer there is no way that the football press would have remained quiet about it - they would have made cheap headlines at Yardy's expense, and made the problem for him even worse. It is a credit to the cricket writers that they choose to stay close to the players in this way. It's one of the reasons why we all love reading about the game - most of the cricket writers care about the game just as much as we do.

In terms of the World Cup the results seem to be going England's way. New Zealand beating South Africa is a major shock, for me. I thought that the South African's would finally bury some demons at this tournament, but they choked yet again on the big stage. This means that England will never get a better chance. A semi-final against New Zealand is eminently winnable, but first they must get past Sri Lanka in their own back yard.
The rain is falling in Colombo and you would have to think that a damp wicket would favour England - moisture might just mean some early movement for the England seamers. According to Twitter right now the England players are being kept awake by some kind of noisy disco in their hotel. Sabotage? You better believe it.

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