Ben Stokes has pulled out of England’s Test series against India and will take “an indefinite break from all cricket” to focus on his mental wellbeing and continue his recovery from a finger injury.
Stokes has spent the vast majority of the last year away from home, living in bio-secure environments with England’s Test and limited-overs squads and with Rajasthan Royals in the IPL. He missed two of England’s Tests against Pakistan last summer in order to see him family in New Zealand, and his father Ged died in December after suffering from brain cancer during the final year of his life.
The ECB said in a statement that it “fully supports” Stokes’ decision and that it would “continue to help him during this period away from the game”.
Ashley Giles, England’s director of men’s cricket, said Stokes had “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,” Giles said. “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.”