I'd sit on the couch crying - Paine reveals mental health struggles

By Sports Desk July 12, 2020

Tim Paine has revealed he used to sit on the couch in tears as the Australia Test captain suffered from mental health issues earlier in his career.

Paine required seven operations after breaking his finger back in 2010, but earned an Australia recall seven years later and took over as skipper in 2018.

The 35-year-old was on the verge of quitting when he was out of the Tasmania team in 2017.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Paine has opened up on the struggles he has endured over the years and the doubts he had when he returned to the highest level.

He told the Bounce Back podcast: "When I started training and playing again I wasn't too bad, until I started to face guys who bowled a lot quicker.

"And they'd be running in and instead of thinking about hitting the ball, I was thinking: 'Geez I hope he doesn't hit me on the finger'.

"From there it was just a downward spiral. I lost absolutely all confidence. I didn't tell anyone about it. The truth is, one, I was scared of getting hit and two, I just didn’t know what I was going to do."

Paine revealed he did not let it be known he was struggling.

“I didn't sleep, I didn't eat. I was so nervous before games, I was horrible to live with," he added.

"I was pretty ordinary to my partner, who is now my wife [Bonnie]. I was always angry and took out that I wasn't doing well on other people.

"I was embarrassed at what I had become. No one knew I was struggling, not my mates, not my partner. There were times when she was at work and I'd sit on the couch crying. It was weird and it was painful."

Paine said talking to a sports psychologist at Cricket Tasmania helped him to get his career back on track.

"It was the first time I actually told anyone what was going on, but I remember walking out of that room and instantly feeling better, that I had let someone in and that was the first step to dealing with, admitting I needed help," he said.

He also found that saying what was on his mind helped him to overcome self-doubt when he was recalled for the 2017-18 Ashes series.

"It went from an amazing feeling ... and then I thought that's not good," he said.

"I'm going to have to bat in front of people and there are going to be millions of people watching. And for three or four days after I thought I don't want to do this.

"Again, spoke to some people and got that stuff off my chest and I thought bugger it, I'll just make the most of it ... I'm going to enjoy it."

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