Ben Stokes takes an indefinite break from cricket for 'mental wellbeing' will miss the India series
Ben Stokes has withdrawn from the upcoming 5-match Test series against India which begins from August 4 in Nottingham as he has decided to 'prioritize his mental wellbeing'. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that all-rounder Ben Stokes will take an indefinite break from all forms of cricket with immediate effect.
The break, which will see Stokes miss the upcoming ICC World Test Championship series against India, has also been taken with a view "to rest his left index finger, which has not fully healed since his return to competitive cricket earlier this month."
Ashley Giles, the Managing Director of England Men's Cricket, said the all-rounder "has shown tremendous courage to open up about his feelings and wellbeing."
Stokes had recently made his international comeback and led a second-string England side to a 3-0 victory over Pakistan in ODIs. Stokes was rested for the T20I series that followed. The 30-year-old had to spend nearly 2 months away from the game after he suffered a broken finger in the Rajasthan Royals' opening game of IPL 2021. Stokes made his comeback for Durham in domestic cricket and was asked to lead England in the absence of regulars. It is to be noted that Stokes wasn't named in the original squad as he was recovering from the finger issue. Writing for Daily Mirror following the Pakistan ODIs, Stokes had revealed that he wouldn't have played the series in normal circumstances due to the finger issue.
ECB has backed Stokes' decision to take a break and said that its primary focus is to look after mental health. "Ben has shown tremendous courage to open up about his feelings and wellbeing. Our primary focus has always been and will continue to be the mental health and welfare of all of our people. The demands on our athletes to prepare and play elite sport are relentless in a typical environment, but the ongoing pandemic has acutely compounded this," said Ashley Giles, Managing Director of England Men's Cricket.
"Spending significant amounts of time away from family, with minimal freedoms, is extremely challenging. The cumulative effect of operating almost continuously in these environments over the last 16 months has had a major impact on everyone's wellbeing. Ben will be given as long as he needs, and we look forward to seeing him playing cricket for England in the future."
"Ben will be given as long as he needs, and we look forward to seeing him playing cricket for England in the future," he added. Craig Overton has been named as his replacement for the Test series against India.