- England star Reece Topley has opened up on his mental health struggles
- Injury forced Topley out of the 2022 T20 World Cup, leaving him devastated
- He said he had ‘PSTD’ about going to India and was ‘not out of the woods’ yet
Reece Topley admits his mental health suffered after he was forced home on the brink of the last World Cup with a freak injury and is still ‘not out of the jungle’ as he contemplates heading for India with England for the next one.
Topley again proved just how potent his left-arm seam, swing and bounce can be with a match-defining spell while taking three wickets in England’s one-day series-levelling victory over New Zealand at the Ageas Bowl.
But the injuries that have had such a devastating impact on his career still hang over Topley, 29, as he prepares to make up for lost time at the 50-over World Cup next month.
It was in Brisbane ahead of the T20 world tournament last October that Topley tripped on one of the 20 centimetre high ‘Toblerone’ boundary markers during fielding practice ahead of England’s warm-up game against Pakistan.
Such was the impact on his 6ft 7in frame that Topley ruptured ligaments and tore some muscles around his left ankle and his World Cup was over before it had begun.
Reece Topley has admitted his mental health was affected after he missed last year’s T20 World Cup due to injury
Life did not get any easier after his recovery for a bowler who almost quit the game when he suffered the third of three stress fractures of his back as he dislocated his shoulder during the IPL earlier this year and needed surgery.
No wonder, on his return for England after being named in their provisional 15-man World Cup squad, he admits to a certain amount of trepidation as the build-up continues to the start of the tournament in Ahmedabad, also against New Zealand, on Oct 5.
‘You could say I have a bit of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) about getting on the plane again because I was pretty emotional coming back from the last World Cup injured,’ said Topley after England’s 79-run victory in the second one-day international.
The England star took three wickets against New Zealand this week – showing how potent his left-arm seam, swing and bounce can be
‘But injuries happen and it’s just the nature of sport. I still have good and bad days and Sunday was brilliant. As you get older injuries do get harder to come back from and I definitely wouldn’t say I’m out of the jungle in terms of my ankle and shoulder. But it’s a case of doing the right things and hopefully there’s more performances like today.’
Clearly, after spending seven of the last 12 months on the treatment table, there was rust for Topley in the first ODI in Cardiff. But he showed why England rate him so highly in Southampton in finding his rhythm and potency at a crucial stage of the second game.
‘It’s always tricky to ease yourself in when you’re playing professional sport because you get caught up in the emotion of it,’ said Topley. ‘You want to win and you want to play well. The Hundred was part of my recovery process and so is this series. It’s still building and hopefully I’ll be in a good place cricket-wise in India.’
Topley is contemplating heading for India for the upcoming World Cup but claims he is ‘not out of the jungle’ in terms of his conditioning
Fitness permitting Topley will definitely be in England’s final 15-man squad but Sunday’s victory did little to clear up the uncertainty surrounding the last one or two places.
It seemed England would reverse their controversial decision to leave out Harry Brook when he starred in the drawn T20 series against New Zealand.
But two failures as an emergency 50-over opener have clouded the picture, particularly with Liam Livingstone cementing his place with two half centuries in the first two ODIs, the latter a mature and match-winning unbeaten 95 at the Ageas Bowl.
Jason Roy needs to prove his fitness after missing the first two 50-over games with a back spasm while Dawid Malan is expected to be back for the third match at the Oval tomorrow after leaving the squad to attend the birth of his second child.