Following a memorable Test hundred against New Zealand on day one of the second Test, South African opener Sarel Erwee has said that he nearly quit the sport. The left-hander shed light on how his family supported him through his mental health issues.
Erwee, who debuted in the opening Test against New Zealand, managed only ten runs in the game. With the top order and the entire batting line-up failing in the first Test, he was responsible for delivering a solid start in the second Test. The rookie opener built a 111-run stand with Dean Elgar before reaching his ton.
Erwee has now revealed that 28 months ago, he was only a phone call away from leaving cricket; but his family helped him remain in the sport. The 32-year old also cited a sports psychologist's help, and believes mental health requires more attention than it gets.
He said in this regard, as quoted by Cricinfo:
"About 28 months ago, the thought of quitting crossed my mind, and I was a phone call away from doing so. I received huge support when I sat down with my family, and my parents picked me up. They helped me see a sports psychologis,t and we worked through that rough spot daily."
"It was a hard slog to try and get motivated again and to give my best after wanting to give up. I was very fortunate to have worked with a sports performance psychologist, and my parents' support at the time was incredible. I don't think we focus enough on mental health in South African sport and cricket."
Erwee, who fell to right-arm seamer Matt Henry for 108, has a magnificent First-Class record. He averages 38.57 in 97 fixtures, scoring 5941 runs with ten centuries and 37 fifties.
"It was extremely special" - Sarel Erwee
The Natal-born batter also credited Aiden Markram and Elgar for helping him through his cricketing career. He added that it was special for his family to witness the moment, especially his sister, who lives in New Zealand. He said:
"It was extremely special. Aiden Markram and Dean Elgar are two good guys. They've taken me under their wing and helped me through this journey. It was lovely to be there with them and lovely to celebrate and get that hundred in front of my family."
"My sister lives here in New Zealand. Sorry, I've got a lump in my throat here. She's been through a tough time here, so it's nice for her to have something to smile about."
The Proteas took control of proceedings on day one after winning the toss. They reached 238-3, with Temba Bavuma (22*) and Rassie van der Dussen (13*) at the crease.
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