Ben Stokes takes indefinite break to focus on mental health, to miss Test series against India

Ben Stokes will take an indefinite break from all cricket with immediate effect ‘to prioritise his mental well-being’, and won’t be available for the Test series against India, starting August 4.

In a statement on Friday, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed that “Stokes has withdrawn from England’s Test squad ahead of the Test series against India starting next week to prioritise his mental wellbeing and to rest his left index finger, which has not fully healed since his return to competitive cricket earlier this month.”

The ECB will continue to help him during this period away from the game.

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Managing Director of England men’s cricket, Ashley Giles, said: “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 wellbeing.”

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

Stokes will be replaced in the squad by Somerset’s Craig Overton. 

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