THE Sussex captain Michael Yardy has disclosed he has been suffering from depression, a condition that led to his withdrawal from England's World Cup campaign before the quarter-final against Sri Lanka in Colombo.
There were two interesting aspects to the ECB announcement. Firstly Yardy was referred to as an all-rounder, a description patently wide of the mark, and secondly it was unusual that such detail of his illness was mentioned.
Yardy himself went out of his way to ensure there was no need for speculation, as his depression illness was clearly cited. "Leaving at this stage of a World Cup campaign was a very difficult decision to make, but I felt that it was the only sensible option for me, and I wanted to be honest about the reason behind that decision," he said.
The word 'honest' seemed pointed, and Yardy will avoid becoming the subject of wild rumours that blighted the departure of poor Marcus Trescothick from England's tour of India in 2006. The ECB's decision to wrap the Trescothick news with the mystery of "personal reasons" probably made his mental breakdown worse. His recovery was short-lived and led to a hasty break from the 2007 Ashes tour.
As for Yardy the ECB said that, after close consultation with their medical officers, after it was agreed that he should return home to Sussex immediately to receive the best possible advice and support. The statement added that he had been managing the condition for a "prolonged period of time".
One of the reasons for England's weak performances in the World Cup had been the use of Yardy as a bowler, something he rarely did at county level. His left-arm darts, a useful variation on occasions, fell well short of 'full-time' pedigree, and his batting in the middle order suffered as well. One can only imagine the stress on Yardy, a whole-hearted cricketer with many admirers. He would not regard himself as an all-rounder. The introduction into the side of James Tredwell, the specialist Kent off-spinner, made an immediate impact -- he was man of the match against the West Indies.
Yady said after his return to England: "I would appreciate some privacy over the coming weeks while I spend time with family and close friends ahead of what I hope will be a successful season for Sussex."