Madhya Pradesh batsman Aryaman Birla, who was part of the Rajasthan Royals franchise till last year, has decided to take an 'undefined sabbatical' from cricket owing to anxiety related issues. The 22-year-old made the admission in a note posted on his Twitter handle in which he vowed to 'emerge from this phase even stronger than before'. "It's been a journey of hard work, perseverance, dedication and immense courage to get to this point in my cricket career. However, I've been coping with severe anxiety related to the sport for a while now," he wrote.
"I felt trapped. I've pushed myself through all the distress so far, but now I fee the need to put my mental health and well-being above all else. And so, I've decided to take an undefined sabbatical from cricket. This lovely sport is an integral part of my life and I hope to be back on the field when the time is right," he added.
Son of industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla, Aryaman, a left-handed batsman, has played age-group cricket for Madhya Pradesh before making it to the senior Ranji side and debuting in 2017. He has so far featured in nine first-class games, eight of which came during the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy.
Rajasthan Royals had bought Aryaman before 2018 IPL season. He did not get a chance to be part of the Rajasthan playing XI over the last two seasons and was one of the players who had been released by the Rajasthan-based franchise before the 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL) auction, which took place in Kolkata on Thursday.
"We all have our own journeys and I want to take this time to understand myself better, open my mind to new and varied perspectives and seek purpose in my findings," Aryaman said.
"I would like to sincerely thank the MPCA and everyone who has been a part of this beautiful journey so far. I'd also like to express my gratitude to all those who have understood me and supported me in this quest of self-analysis. This phase has been difficult but it has also helped me realize who my real friends and well-wishers are."
Aryaman's sabbatical comes at a time when many cricketers are opening up to the possibility that they need time away from the game to deal with this kind of illness.
Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell had stepped away from cricket citing mental health issues during the T20I series against Sri Lanka in October. He recently made his return to professional cricket and is currently playing in the Big Bash League.