Australian Cricket stars and men’s mental health take centre stage for Nic MacBean Cup

Australian Test cricketers, captain Tim Paine and paceman Mitchell Starc visited BBC to promote the Movember Foundation and the Nic MacBean Cup, sharing the pitch with our up-and-coming cricket stars while tackling the stigma surrounding men’s mental health.

The Nic MacBean Cup was established in 2016 to honour BBC Old Boy, Nic MacBean, who sadly passed away in November 2015 after a long battle with recurrent, major depressive illness.

Annually, the Nic MacBean All Stars take on the Brisbane Boys’ College First XI side in a T-20 format cricket match, with all funds raised benefitting the Movember Foundation.

Our students had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play alongside their cricket heroes, who spoke openly to the boys about the need to reach out to their mates if they are struggling with any form of mental illness and the importance of supporting each other through tough times.

Organiser and former schoolmate of Nic, Josh Langdon (OC 2002), is the driving force behind the Nic MacBean Cup, having established the charity cricket match in 2016 to treasure and honour the memory of his cricket-loving childhood friend.

“We all graduated in 2002 and all played cricket together so cricket made sense and we were just going to do one big game as a tribute to Nic, but then it really just took off from there,” said Josh.

“We bonded through cricket, spent a lot of time together, but I can’t really recall when we spoke about, or asked each other ‘how are you feeling?’ It wasn’t until Nick shared his own personal struggles with us when he was about 23… that as a group of friends, we started to become aware of mental illness and began to feel comfortable talking about it.”

Australian cricket stars Tim Paine and Mitchell Starc said they were thrilled to support the cause.

“I think the earlier we can get young guys talking about their issues and helping their friends out and making sure that guys know that they’ve got support around them, the better we’re going to be in the long run,” Tim Paine said.

“And it’s not just the young guys either, I think it’s really important we keep encouraging people to talk to each other and have people around them that they trust and know that they can have those sorts of conversations with. It’s as simple as that – just checking in with your mates from time to time, being aware of friends and family around you.

“We want to make sure that guys know that it’s okay and it’s not a sign of weakness to speak up and ask for help.”

For the record, the Nic MacBean All Stars XI reclaimed the Cup for 2019, scoring 4/204 to the BBC First XI squad total of 5/179.