x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Boycott guilty of not understanding depression, says England's Strauss

Boycott, a former England captain turned forthright pundit, suggested Yardy's condition might have been down to the way he has performed at the World Cup.

Andrew Strauss says the ex-England captain Geoffry Boycott betrayed a complete lack of knowledge when commenting on Michael Yardy returning home with depression.
Andrew Strauss says the ex-England captain Geoffry Boycott betrayed a complete lack of knowledge when commenting on Michael Yardy returning home with depression.

COLOMBO // Andrew Strauss, the England captain, believes Geoffrey Boycott is guilty of a "fundamental misunderstanding" of depression, following the commentator's crass comments about Mike Yardy's withdrawal from the World Cup.

Speaking on UK radio, Boycott, a former England captain turned forthright pundit, suggested Yardy's condition might have been down to the way he had performed at the tournament in the subcontinent.

"He must have been reading my comments about his bowling — it must have upset him," Boycott said of the left-arm spinner, who returned to the UK last night as he battles depression.

"Obviously it was too much for him at this level. If any blame is attached it's partly to the selectors because I'm sorry, he's not good enough at this level."

Strauss said Boycott's stance betrayed a complete lack of knowledge of the matter at hand.

"To link it in any way to how he performed in the World Cup was a long way wide of the mark," Strauss said at a press conference ahead of England's quarter-final encounter with Sri Lanka in Colombo.

"In that sense, we were very disappointed with those comments. I think it was a case of a lack of being informed about the situation."

Yardy was left out of England's most recent outing, the decisive group match against the West Indies, and his replacement, James Tredwell, subsequently took four wickets and was named man-of-the-match.

"We made that decision based on the fact [West Indies] had a number of left-handers and, to a certain extent, because of form," Strauss said. "It was nothing to do with anything that was going on off the field."

Kumar Sangakkara, the Sri Lanka captain, says all international cricketers will be able to empathise with the Sussex spin-bowler.

"Everyone feels for Michael Yardy," he said. "We have seen Marcus Trescothick [the England opener who retired prematurely from the national team because of a stress-related illness] battle his way through international cricket, and these are all great players.

"Every side, going forward, will pay more attention to the psychological aspect of how fit players are mentally to take on the challenges."

pradley@thenational.ae