Ben Stokes Takes ‘Indefinite Break’ From All Cricket

Ben Stokes has said he "will take an indefinite break from all cricket with immediate effect".

Consequently, it means he will miss England's five-Test series against India starting in August.

The worldwide cricketing superstar has chosen to prioritise his mental wellbeing and rest his  injured left index finger, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said in a statement.

Craig Overton has been called up to the England squad as Stokes' replacement.

Ashley Giles, managing director of England Men's Cricket, said the following:

“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.

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 well-being.

Ben will be given as long as he needs, and we look forward to seeing him playing cricket for England in the future."

The environments are challenging indeed. Ben Stokes not only plays all formats when not injured, but also plays in international franchise tournaments, meaning he will have felt the affects more acutely than those who play only one format.

The decision comes just as cricket gets going in earnest for the England team.

Five Tests against India. Twenty20 World Cup in October. Ashes series against Australia, which begins in December. The stakes couldn't be higher, and a nation like England will sorely miss having the likes of Ben Stokes.

Further, Stokes took compassionate leave between August and October last year to be with his father who died in December last year.

Well-being is the Priority

There is nothing more important than your own well-being. Even if you are not a professional sportsman, you will not be able to perform at your peak if you are struggling mentally.

Stokes' withdrawal comes as US gymnast Simone Biles pulled out of the team final at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to “focus on her mental health”. 

Japan's tennis icon Naomi Osaka said she felt "a lot of pressure" after her shock exit from her home Games, saying it was "a bit much", which came after she revealed she had "suffered long bouts of depression" when she pulled out of the French open in June.

The ECB have requested that privacy is given to Stokes and his family during his absence from the game.


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