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Aussies need a shrink: Buchanan, ACA chief

cricket Updated: Nov 15, 2008 18:20 IST

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Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) chief Paul Marsh and former coach John Buchanan feel Ricky Ponting and his men are in desperate need of a sports psychologist to prevent the mental breakdown of players like Andrew Symonds.

"Cricket Australia has always argued that it is a fairly expensive exercise to have a sports psychologist or a doctor on tour ... It probably is, but I would say the benefits of having one can be pretty significant," Buchanan was quoted as saying by 'The Daily Telegraph'.

"I definitely think professional cricketers should have very good emotional care and a very broad support network," he opined.

Marsh echoed the view, saying a psychologist was needed to prevent breakdowns like Symonds and Shaun Tait, who quit cricket temporarily earlier this year to regain his desire to play.

"Our cricketers spend a lot of time away from family and friends and we have to look at their welfare in this regard. We are talking to some experts in the field to help us put together a plan," Marsh said.

While Symonds and Tait were kept out of the team, pace spearhead Brett Lee played through the India series while dealing with a bitter separation from his wife. In fact, his poor form in India, where he took just eight wickets in four matches, was attributed, in part, to his disturbed mental state.

A Brisbane-based psychologist Phil Jauncey, who counselled Symonds during his trouble days, also advocated for a travelling psychologist for the team.

"I think it is helpful if you have someone who is around the players a lot of the time who can see the warning signs early," Jauncey said.