New Zealand star Devine opens up about mental health – "Mentally I was nowhere"

New Zealand captain Sophie Devine opened up about her struggles with mental health after returning to the side to guide them to a four-wicket win over England at Hove on Saturday.

Devine took a mental health break back in March and returned to sport for New Zealand's ongoing tour of England.

After her first game back ended in defeat at Chelmsford, Devine produced an excellent all-round display to help New Zealand level the series, taking 2-28 with the ball and smashing 50 with the bat.

Speaking after the game, Devine opened up about her break, saying: "It's hard to put into words how I was feeling at the start of the year.

"Mentally I was nowhere and to try and play international cricket when mentally you're not at the top of your game, let alone 50 percent, it's always going to be bloody hard.

"Looking back on it, I was nowhere near my best with the bat and mentally I wasn't in a position to produce my best either.

"It's nice to have been able to step away and to put some things into place around that. I think we all know the environment that we find ourselves in now is bloody challenging.

"I'm extremely grateful that we're able to continue to play cricket because I know people are doing it really tough around the world."

She added: "The way I describe it is it just feels comfortable and it feels like home in a sense. It's what all batters, it's what all cricketers, it's what all athletes, aim to achieve – that real Zen headspace where you're not thinking of anything, there's nothing in your mind, there's clarity, and you really know what you're out there to achieve.

"I had to fight hard and I've been having to fight hard for the last couple of months to get in that space.

"Not playing and not playing as well as I would like with the bat, today it was about getting in the scrap and putting myself in a position where, when the ball was in my slot, being able to put it away."

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