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Stokes takes mental health break from cricket

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30th July, 2021
11

England superstar Ben Stokes “will take an indefinite break from all cricket with immediate effect”.

The 30-year-old all-rounder will play no part in the forthcoming Test series against India in a bid to safeguard his mental health and rest his injured finger, the England and Wales Cricket Board announced on Friday.

An ECB statement read: “The England and Wales Cricket Board can confirm that England men’s all-rounder Ben Stokes will take an indefinite break from all cricket with immediate effect.

“Stokes has withdrawn from England’s Test squad ahead of the Test series against India starting next week to prioritise his mental wellbeing and to rest his left index finger, which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 fully supports Ben’s decision and we will continue to help him during this period away from the game.”

The ECB confirmed Stokes would be replaced in the England squad by Somerset’s Craig Overton.

England managing director Ashley Giles said Stokes had the ECB’s full support and would be given “as long as he needs” to make a full recovery.

Ben Stokes.

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Giles said: “Ben has shown tremendous courage to open up about his feelings and wellbeing.

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“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.”

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Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen was among those wishing Stokes well and hoping he’ll return and prosper after his break.

Pietersen told Sky Sports: “I hope he’s OK – he’s a fabulous cricketer, one of the best in the world at the moment.

“He obviously lost his dad, there are a lot of things that have happened to Ben Stokes in the last couple of years. All I know is I want him to be OK.”

Former Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkara added: “It must be a very, very tough time for Ben and his family. It won’t be a decision made easily but it brings into focus the level elite players play at. Your coping mechanism can only deal with so much.

“Different individuals deal with things differently, some are able to cope with it and some aren’t and over time you can reach a point where you need a break.

“But the real fact is that he has to be OK, he needs the support of good people around him and is back as soon as possible.”

© AAP

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