In an interview to Daily Mail, Monty Panesar spoke candidly about his mental problem with his mentor and idol Nasser Hussain. The former England spinner rose to fame after picking up Sachin Tendulkar in his first test but had his international career cut down to psychological illness. “I was disappointed with the way I behaved. I became paranoid. My confidence suffered”, he said.
Talking about his new book The Full Monty, Panesar told the former English skipper that he had been suffering from depression and schizophrenia for a long time and used to take medication during tours and series, as he mentioned, “I took it during that Ashes tour”. He further said that he was well aware of his problems and how they were affecting his cricket but thought he could deal with them personally, without taking any professional help.
He talked about his stint at Essex where he would be late for games and his teammates would get annoyed with his behaviour and felt that is things got worst for him. Unable to control himself, he resorted to drinking which he felt calmed his nerves. However, when the 2013 bar incident broke out Panesar hit the lowest point of his life.
He went on to say how his parents were worried and wanted him to see someone. That is when he realized the need for help and went on to meet various people and opened up about his problem. Nasser Husain himself and Duncan Fletcher, according to Panesar, helped him the most. “I thought of you and Duncan as the captain and coach who started to change English cricket, began to create the modern England. I wanted to ask you about that and how you did it”, he was quoted as saying to Hussain.
Now a changed man, the Indian-origin spinner has returned to the game with club cricket and eyes a first-class return. On being confronted by his idol that he is well past his prime, he wasquick to answer, “I feel like I’ve missed a golden period, some of my prime because a spinner gets better with age. I feel I’ve got all these wickets still in me. I’m 37 but feel 32. I can still play first-class cricket.” He believes his new book will give people a clear of him as a person and would make them fall in love with him again.