India vs Australia 2017

Guwahati T20I, three talking points: The real Australia finally showed up and more

Australia outplayed India to ensure that the series stays alive heading into the final game in Hyderabad on Friday.

So, it finally happened. India lost a T20I against Australia after seven consecutive wins. And as it turned out, it wasn’t even a close affair in Guwahati. Australia outplayed India to ensure that the series stays alive heading into the final game in Hyderabad on Friday.

Here are the talking points from what was a very convincing performance by Australia:

The real Australia did stand up

It’s taken seven matches for the real Australian side to show up on this tour. The overriding feeling during the limp ODI series defeat was that the famed Aussie spirit was nowhere to be seen. The team that used to fight till the very last ball, the team that used to pluck victories from the jaws of defeats, was missing in action. It was a weird Australian experience, truth be told, with Steve Smith and Co failing to make positions of advantage count.

But in Guwahati, like Harsha Bhogle said on air, the Australian team “literally dominated from the very first over” to ensure a win in a must-not-lose situation. The pressure was relentless thoroughout the game and except for the brief period when David Warner and Aaron Finch departed early, the Aussies were never in danger of losing this match.

Now that’s what we are used to seeing from the men in yellow.

Spinners’ plight

Ever since the ODI series against Sri Lanka began, the narrative behind India’s bowling has been the same. That the wrist spinners (in the company of Axar Patel) have been the answer to Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja’s mediocre form with the white ball. Virat Kohli has been effusive in his praise of the two wrist spinners at his disposal but on Tuesday night the duo couldn’t prevent the Aussie batsmen from romping towards the target with ease.

Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendar Chahal conceded 75 runs in 7.3 overs with Kuldeep especially having a day to forget as he bowled too many boundary balls to Travis Head and Moises Henriques – mostly on the shorter side.

But here’s the thing. Even with a low target to defend and even with Aussies clearly going after them, the duo were not hesitant to flight the ball up. Either because of their captain’s advice or by their own volition, they gave the ball loop and tried to tempt the batsman into making a mistake. Head almost did on a couple of occasions but his mistimed shots fell in no man’s land.

“Play your natural game,” is a phrase used for attacking batsmen all the time (and annoyingly so) but on Tuesday night, the only way India could have won after posting 118 was if they picked up regular wickets – Kuldeep and Chahal couldn’t deliver, but they at least showed courage in their conviction.

Rohit Sharma’s ‘Amir’ problem

Remember Asia Cup 2016? Remember Champions Trophy 2017? Remember Rohit Sharma saying Mohammad Amir is not an extra ordinary bowler and then getting dismissed by him in three out of the four matches India played Pakistan since? There’s a weakness that’s become evident in that phase.

The best way to get Rohit Sharma out early (and you better do, because if he gets going, he makes it count) is to have a left arm seamer bowl full, straight and shape the ball every so slightly back into him. Rohit has repeatedly shown a propensity to be struck on the crease and that’s exactly what the brilliant Jason Behrendorff exploited in Guwahati. He started with a very wide full toss, followed that up with a good length outside off that was going with the angle – a perfect set up for the inswinger that followed next. Rohit fell, hook, line and sinker.

With most of the top cricketing nations having at least one good left arm seamer in their limited overs lineup, this is a weakness Rohit must iron out from his game and quickly.

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Removing the layers of complexity that weigh down mental health in rural India

Patients in rural areas of the country face several obstacles to get to treatment.

Two individuals, with sombre faces, are immersed in conversation in a sunlit classroom. This image is the theme across WHO’s 2017 campaign ‘Depression: let’s talk’ that aims to encourage people suffering from depression or anxiety to seek help and get assistance. The fact that depression is the theme of World Health Day 2017 indicates the growing global awareness of mental health. This intensification of the discourse on mental health unfortunately coincides with the global rise in mental illness. According to the latest estimates from WHO, more than 300 million people across the globe are suffering from depression, an increase of 18% between 2005 and 2015.

In India, the National Mental Health Survey of India, 2015-16, conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) revealed the prevalence of mental disorders in 13.7% of the surveyed population. The survey also highlighted that 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. Perhaps the most crucial finding from this survey is the disclosure of a huge treatment gap that remains very high in our country and even worse in rural areas.

According to the National Mental Health Programme, basic psychiatric care is mandated to be provided in every primary health centre – the state run rural healthcare clinics that are the most basic units of India’s public health system. The government provides basic training for all primary health centre doctors, and pays for psychiatric medication to be stocked and available to patients. Despite this mandate, the implementation of mental health services in rural parts of the country continues to be riddled with difficulties:

Attitudinal barriers

In some rural parts of the country, a heavy social stigma exists against mental illness – this has been documented in many studies including the NIMHANS study mentioned earlier. Mental illness is considered to be the “possession of an evil spirit in an individual”. To rid the individual of this evil spirit, patients or family members rely on traditional healers or religious practitioners. Lack of awareness on mental disorders has led to further strengthening of this stigma. Most families refuse to acknowledge the presence of a mental disorder to save themselves from the discrimination in the community.

Lack of healthcare services

The average national deficit of trained psychiatrists in India is estimated to be 77% (0.2 psychiatrists per 1,00,000 population) – this shows the scale of the problem across rural and urban India. The absence of mental healthcare infrastructure compounds the public health problem as many individuals living with mental disorders remain untreated.

Economic burden

The scarcity of healthcare services also means that poor families have to travel great distances to get good mental healthcare. They are often unable to afford the cost of transportation to medical centres that provide treatment.

After focussed efforts towards awareness building on mental health in India, The Live Love Laugh Foundation (TLLLF), founded by Deepika Padukone, is steering its cause towards understanding mental health of rural India. TLLLF has joined forces with The Association of People with Disability (APD), a non-governmental organisation working in the field of disability for the last 57 years to work towards ensuring quality treatment for the rural population living with mental disorders.

APD’s intervention strategy starts with surveys to identify individuals suffering from mental illnesses. The identified individuals and families are then directed to the local Primary Healthcare Centres. In the background, APD capacity building programs work simultaneously to create awareness about mental illnesses amongst community workers (ASHA workers, Village Rehabilitation Workers and General Physicians) in the area. The whole complex process involves creating the social acceptance of mental health conditions and motivating them to approach healthcare specialists.

Participants of the program.
Participants of the program.

When mental health patients are finally free of social barriers and seeking help, APD also mobilises its network to make treatments accessible and affordable. The organisation coordinates psychiatrists’ visits to camps and local healthcare centres and ensures that the necessary medicines are well stocked and free medicines are available to the patients.

We spent a lot of money for treatment and travel. We visited Shivamogha Manasa and Dharwad Hospital for getting treatment. We were not able to continue the treatment for long as we are poor. We suffered economic burden because of the long- distance travel required for the treatment. Now we are getting quality psychiatric service near our village. We are getting free medication in taluk and Primary Healthcare Centres resulting in less economic stress.

— A parent's experience at an APD treatment camp.

In the two years TLLLF has partnered with APD, 892 and individuals with mental health concerns have been treated in the districts of Kolar, Davangere, Chikkaballapur and Bijapur in Karnataka. Over 4620 students participated in awareness building sessions. TLLLF and APD have also secured the participation of 810 community health workers including ASHA workers in the mental health awareness projects - a crucial victory as these workers play an important role in spreading awareness about health. Post treatment, 155 patients have resumed their previous occupations.

To mark World Mental Health Day, 2017, a team from TLLLF lead by Deepika Padukone visited program participants in the Davengere district.

Sessions on World Mental Health Day, 2017.
Sessions on World Mental Health Day, 2017.

In the face of a mental health crisis, it is essential to overcome the treatment gap present across the country, rural and urban. While awareness campaigns attempt to destigmatise mental disorders, policymakers need to make treatment accessible and cost effective. Until then, organisations like TLLLF and APD are doing what they can to create an environment that acknowledges and supports people who live with mental disorders. 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.