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World Cup 2011

Strauss was aware of Yardy's depression

ESPNcricinfo staff

March 25, 2011

Comments: 17 | Text size: A | A

Michael Yardy picked up 2 for 59, Australia v England, 7th ODI, Perth, February 6 2011
Michael Yardy flew home ahead of England's knockout match with Sri Lanka © AFP
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Players/Officials: Andrew Strauss | Michael Yardy
Series/Tournaments: ICC Cricket World Cup
Teams: England

Andrew Strauss has said he knew Michael Yardy was struggling with depression before Yardy took the decision to withdraw from the World Cup and fly home.

Yardy became the fifth member of England's original squad to head home early and his departure inevitably drew comparison to Strauss's old opening partner Marcus Trescothick, who retired from international cricket five years ago after suffering stress-related illnesses. Since then England have had structures put in place to help players but they couldn't prevent Yardy from needing to leave the tournament early.

"It's a horrible thing for him to have to go through," Strauss said. "It's something he has been managing for a while and there have been systems in place to help him manage it but over the last week or so, it's got too much for him and he has had to go home."

Geoff Boycott sparked controversy shortly after the news of Yardy's departure surfaced when he suggested the depression had come from disappointing results on the field. "He must have been reading my comments about his bowling - it must have upset him," Boycott told BBC Radio Five Live. "Obviously it was too much for him at this level. If any blame is attached it's partly to the selectors because I'm sorry, he's not good enough at this level."

Strauss waved aside Boycott's remarks and said the squad were 'disappointed' when they heard them. "I think they showed a fundamental misunderstanding of the issue. I don't think your cricketing ability or what you have achieved has anything to do with it whatsoever.

"There are significant pressures, and as you get older a lot of us have kids and what not, which makes touring harder. It's important to draw attention to the fact that it's different having a hard time being away from home and actually suffering from depression. They are two very different things."

The schedule confronting England players has been a major talking point of their erratic campaign. Following their shock defeats to Ireland and Bangladesh in the group stages many suggested the team looked fatigued. Strauss, however, emphasised throughout that tiredness could not be blamed and said Yardy's condition was separate from the general demands of touring.

"Obviously if you are in a hotel room for five or six months one end, you're going to have days when you feel down," Strauss said. "I think that's very different from suffering from depression. International cricket is challenging in terms of how you are temperamentally equipped with spending long periods away from home. That's something we all go through. Depression is something completely different."

Despite the setback Strauss was confident Yardy's departure wouldn't distract the side ahead of their knockout match against Sri Lanka. "It's not difficult to focus our minds on this game of cricket. It's a must-win game of cricket. If we lose we are on the plane home. If we win we are in the World Cup semi-final. I think as players you get quite used to switching on and off when the situation demands it."

© ESPN EMEA Ltd.

Comments: 17 
Posted by grayskunk on (March 27, 2011, 10:24 GMT)

I agreed with Boycott on only the one point that Yardy isn't good enough at this level not for lack of effort or dedication though, however I agree with the comments Strauss made that Boycott was slightly missing the point. If you look at Marcus Trescothick he was a shoe in for the team and he still was affected by this awful illness so it shows it can affect anyone regardless of their standing in their chosen profession. My thoughts are with Yardy and his family as he fights this and wish him all the best.

Posted by Hermandw on (March 27, 2011, 8:39 GMT)

Couldn't agree more with Strauss, there is a major difference between being fatigued, being out of form and being depressed. Criticism cannot cause depression. It can however contribute to it, just as bad form, touring stress, and fatigue can contribute to it. But no one who has never experienced depression, or who is not prone to depression can have any idea how debilitating depression can be. Glib comments about Yardy's competency from somebody like Geoff Boycott shows a total lack of knowledge and compassion about the realities of depression.

Posted by sharidas on (March 26, 2011, 13:39 GMT)

I guess there are so many factors that could cause depression in an individual. In Yardys case there was nothing visible to indicate that he was in any way suffering from depression. Rather, his appearance as a late order batsmen and as a bowler made me nervous thinking of the damage he could do.( Iam from India) It certainly was a very unselfish decision that Yardy made rather than compromise the team goals. I wish him all the best and hope to see him back in the team soon.

Posted by landl47 on (March 26, 2011, 9:52 GMT)

If Boycott's comments were valid, he would be in a permanent state of depression resulting from his inept captaincy of Yorkshire. He wasn't able to relate to his players then and clearly the years have done nothing to improve his interpersonal skills.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2011, 6:23 GMT)

Take a bow, Mr Strauss. You do yourself and England proud with almost every utterance of yours on matters cricketing and beyond. Your responses to post match media questions have been frank, forthright, thoughtful and hobestly self-critical, without a trace of defensiveness. MS Dhoni and you are two captains in this World Cup to set high standards of decorum.

Posted by CricSamraat on (March 26, 2011, 6:17 GMT)

Yardy is a human being playing a highly stressful, competitive game of cricket for his living. Things do take their toll over time. Some people get more impacted than others. Yardy is a very capable allrounder. I do not understand why Geoff Boycott is hell-bent on belittling this great player.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2011, 6:05 GMT)

We will remember Yardy in our prayers. Best wishes for speedy improvement!

Posted by masterblaster1971 on (March 26, 2011, 4:54 GMT)

yep, and if you win you will face a rampant raging NZ team that will be out for victory !

Posted by   on (March 26, 2011, 3:15 GMT)

I am sorry, Geoff Boycott, but you are not good enough at this level as a commentator. You comments were foolish. Depression is an illness which has a huge genetic component, and can be triggered by seemingly insignificant causes. It is unfortunate but it should be treated like any other illness a player can get, and the player must be respected. Your foolish comments show your belief that you think Yardy is not 'tough enough' - Did somebody tell you, when you tore your hamstring, that you were not 'tough enough'? He is unwell, let him get treatment, thats all. Causes are unimportant.

Posted by Y2SJ on (March 26, 2011, 1:45 GMT)

"Obviously if you are in a hotel room for five or six months one end, you're going to have days when you feel down," -- I agree with Strauss. The issue is not with Yardys talent or ability. Hope he takes some time off and comes back a better bowler. My prayers for him.

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