England all-rounder Nat Sciver-Brunt has revealed how taking a mental health break and seeing a sports psychologist gave her “perspective” ahead of her return to cricket.
Sciver-Brunt stepped away from the game last September having become “emotionally fatigued, missing the late-summer series against India in order to spend time with her wife Katherine Sciver-Brunt and seek professional help.
The 30-year-old had captained England at the Commonwealth Games in the absence of the injured Heather Knight, with the side finishing fourth after losing the bronze-medal match to New Zealand.
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Sciver-Brunt returned to action in December and has since helped England to the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup and won the inaugural Women’s Premier League with Mumbai Indians, scoring an unbeaten 60 in the final against Delhi Capitals.
Sciver-Brunt, speaking for Mental Health Awareness Week, said: “The break was something I felt I needed because of the six to 12 months before that. It did get on top of me a little bit. I did things that had been on the to-do list for a year. Just being happy at home, doing normal things: mow the lawn, take the dog for a walk.
Sciver-Brunt: It is better to talk
“I spoke to a clinical psychologist a couple of times and tried to reflect on things, especially the Commonwealth Games, how that went and how that affected me which is probably the main trigger for needing to go home.
“Since then I haven’t spoken to her but felt like I have got a bit more perspective from it and am able to, not recover from things, but just deal with things that come my way.
“I have reflected a lot of with our England team psychologist as well and checked in with her quite a bit, voicing the expectations and how I thought it was going to go during the WPL… what would happen if I didn’t perform?
“I guess working through those situations before it happened was really useful. So many people say that it is better to talk, which it is.”
Sciver-Brunt was signed for £320,00 in the WPL auction – the joint-highest price for an overseas player, alongside Australia’s Ashleigh Gardner.
Sciver-Brunt in ‘good place’ ahead of Women’s Ashes
Her next goal is to win The Ashes with England this summer as the multi-format series against Australia, which comprises one Test, three T20 international and three one-day internationals, takes place across June and July.
“I guess the WPL coincided with me feeling in a good place with my cricket and as a person, as well being really happy,” she added. “I didn’t have to dwell on it too much. I didn’t have to think about that, just concentrate on the cricket.
“I love playing for my country and want to prioritise that, but also my mental health and getting the balance of being at home for a long enough period to reset. I wouldn’t want to just say yes to everything and be cooked six months in.
“I have been communicating with the England staff and working out how best to get me ready for the Ashes Test match and the rest of the summer.”
Watch the Women’s Ashes live on Sky Sports this summer. The Test match, at Trent Bridge, kicks off the series on June 22.