International Cricket

On Brendon McCullum's 35th birthday, watch what exactly international cricket is missing out on

A fearless and aggressive player, Bazz is one of the best wicketkeeper-batsmen in modern-day cricket.

New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum had all the ingredients to become a legend of the game. His superb hand and eye co-ordination with impeccable timing and bat speed made him a force to reckon with on the cricketing field. Nicknamed Bazz, McCullum grew up in a cricketing family with his father Stuart McCullum playing 75 First-Class games. His younger brother Nathan McCullum, who has represented New Zealand on a number of occasions, also played an important role in shaping Brendon’s career.

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On his day, Bazz would destroy any bowling attack across the world and wouldn’t think twice if there was a ball to be hit for a six. Already said to be among the best New Zealand cricket has produced, McCullum played 101 consecutive Test matches – a record – before retiring, in which he has scored 12 centuries, of which four were double centuries and one was a triple hundred (302) against India. He is the only Kiwi played to achieve such a feat and by the look of things, the record is going to stay for a while. With over 6,000 Test runs, McCullum was team player and not a one-man show.

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However, many considered his game to be cut out for T20 cricket. To support that point, we have to recollect McCullum’s innings for the Kolkata Knight Riders against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the inaugural match of the Indian Premier League in 2008. McCullum’s innings of 158 gave the IPL the thrust it required and, since then, world cricket has never been the same. McCullum is the leading run-scorer in Twenty20 Internationals with 2,140 runs and the only player to have scored 2,000 runs or more. He is also the only cricketer to score two centuries in T20Is as well. In One-Day International cricket, he has scored over 6,000 runs in 260 matches at a strike rate of 96. He is also the first New Zealand captain to take his team to the final of a World Cup in 2015.

He retired from international cricket in February 2016, but continues to be part of T20 leagues around the world. We hope that he considers coming out of retirement and propel New Zealand cricket to greater heights.

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Changing the conversation around mental health in rural India

Insights that emerged from discussions around mental health at a village this World Mental Health Day.

Questioning is the art of learning. For an illness as debilitating as depression, asking the right questions is an important step in social acceptance and understanding. How do I open-up about my depression to my parents? Can meditation be counted as a treatment for depression? Should heartbreak be considered as a trigger for deep depression? These were some of the questions addressed by a panel consisting of the trustees and the founder of The Live Love Lough Foundation (TLLLF), a platform that seeks to champion the cause of mental health. The panel discussion was a part of an event organised by TLLLF to commemorate World Mental Health Day.

According to a National Mental Health Survey of India 2015-16, conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), common mental disorders including depression, anxiety disorders and substance use disorders affect nearly 10% of the population, with 1 in 20 people in India suffering from depression. The survey reported a huge treatment gap, a problem that is spread far and wide across urban and rural parts of the country.

On 10th of October, trustees of the foundation, Anna Chandy, Dr. Shyam Bhat and Nina Nair, along with its founder, Deepika Padukone, made a visit to a community health project centre in Devangere, Karnataka. The project, started by The Association of People with Disability (APD) in 2010, got a much-needed boost after partnering with TLLLF 2 years ago, helping them reach 819 people suffering from mental illnesses and spreading its program to 6 Taluks, making a difference at a larger scale.

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During the visit, the TLLLF team met patients and their families to gain insights into the program’s effectiveness and impact. Basavaraja, a beneficiary of the program, spoke about the issues he faced because of his illness. He shared how people used to call him mad and would threaten to beat him up. Other patients expressed their difficulty in getting access to medical aid for which they had to travel to the next biggest city, Shivmoga which is about 2 hours away from Davangere. A marked difference from when TLLLF joined the project two years ago was the level of openness and awareness present amongst the villagers. Individuals and families were more expressive about their issues and challenges leading to a more evolved and helpful conversation.

The process of de-stigmatizing mental illnesses in a community and providing treatment to those who are suffering requires a strong nexus of partners to make progress in a holistic manner. Initially, getting different stakeholders together was difficult because of the lack of awareness and resources in the field of mental healthcare. But the project found its footing once it established a network of support from NIMHANS doctors who treated the patients at health camps, Primary Healthcare Centre doctors and the ASHA workers. On their visit, the TLLLF team along with APD and the project partners discussed the impact that was made by the program. Were beneficiaries able to access the free psychiatric drugs? Did the program help in reducing the distance patients had to travel to get treatment? During these discussions, the TLLLF team observed that even amongst the partners, there was an increased sense of support and responsiveness towards mental health aid.

The next leg of the visit took the TLLLF team to the village of Bilichodu where they met a support group that included 15 patients and caregivers. Ujjala Padukone, Deepika Padukone’s mother, being a caregiver herself, was also present in the discussion to share her experiences with the group and encouraged others to share their stories and concerns about their family members. While the discussion revolved around the importance of opening up and seeking help, the team brought about a forward-looking attitude within the group by discussing future possibilities in employment and livelihood options available for the patients.

As the TLLLF team honoured World Mental Health day, 2017 by visiting families, engaging with support groups and reviewing the successes and the challenges in rural mental healthcare, they noticed how the conversation, that was once difficult to start, now had characteristics of support, openness and a positive outlook towards the future. To continue this momentum, the organisation charted out the next steps that will further enrich the dialogue surrounding mental health, in both urban and rural areas. The steps include increasing research on mental health, enhancing the role of social media to drive awareness and decrease stigma and expanding their current programs. To know more, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of The Live Love Laugh Foundation and not by the Scroll editorial team.