BENGALURU: Rahul Dravid, former Indian cricketer and director of cricket operations at National Cricket Academy, on Wednesday made a strong pitch for proactive discussion on mental wellness on the lines of physical fitness in the sporting environment, which he said will help in the holistic development of athletes and sportspersons.

He was speaking at the “Wellness at Work” summit organised by Manipal Hospitals in Bengaluru on Wednesday. Dravid said that although significant change is seen in the Indian sports scenario as players and teams talk about stress and other mental health issues, a lot more needs to be done. “We need to get more data from the sporting context and address issues. It will help to develop a high level of performance,” he said.

“Mental health is a hot topic in sports today, especially for a lot of us who are engaged in coaching young players. Conversations happen about how to improve the mental wellness of young athletes,” the former cricketer said. He also pointed out that unlike in the past when talking about the level of stress and mental status was considered as a weakness of the player, today players are open about it. “Earlier, cricket was all about skill, and physical fitness was not even considered that important. Then, we got into an era where people realised that the game was as much about fitness as it was about skill. Now that we have super-specialised in fitness, the next level of improvement or sporting performance is in the area of mental wellness,” Dravid said.

Manipal Hospitals chairman Dr Sudarshan Ballal appreciated the trend of corporates and organisations making wellness plans for their employees an essential component of benefit packages for recruitment and retention. The hospital also announced the launch of Manipal T10 Corporate Cricket League for corporates in Bengaluru which is scheduled to start in May this year.

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