‘Crying on the couch’ - Aussie skipper Paine's mental demons

Australian captain Tim Paine revealed Sunday he used to hate playing cricket and was left "crying on the couch" after losing confidence during an injury-plagued period of his career, reports AFP.

The 35-year-old has been widely praised after taking over as Test skipper in 2018 when Steve Smith was suspended over a brazen attempt under his watch to alter the ball with sandpaper in Cape Town.

But it has not been easy for Paine, who suffered a career-threatening finger injury in 2010 soon after being identified as Australia's first-choice wicketkeeper and making his international debut.

It required seven surgeries and two missed seasons, leading to a downward spiral with years of nerves, sleepless nights and frustration as he struggled to rediscover his confidence and form.

"I got to the stage where I was scared of getting hit, and I just had no idea what I was going to do," he told a new podcast series aimed at promoting well-being and good mental health.

"Instead of watching the ball I was thinking about getting hit or what might happen. When you're doing that the game becomes very difficult.

"I couldn't score runs for an extended period of time. I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep. I was so nervous before games. I was horrible to live with."

He said while he never lost his love of watching cricket "when it came to my part in the game I just hated it".

"I would rather be anywhere else in the world because I was convinced I was going to fail. I don't think anyone knew that I was struggling at all, not my best mates, not even my partner.

"I remember times when I would be sitting at home, she'd be at work, and I would literally be sitting on the couch, not bawling my eyes out but I'd be crying," he added.