England star Ben Stokes to miss India Test series to prioritise ‘his mental wellbeing’

Ben Stokes takes an indefinite break from cricket to focus on his mental wellbeing with the England star hailed for his ‘tremendous courage to open up’ by ECB director Ashely Giles

England have confirmed Ben Stokes will take an ‘indefinite break’ from all forms of cricket, and the all-rounder could now miss the entirety of the India Test series.

The ECB released a statement confirming his omission relates to prioritising ‘his mental wellbeing and to rest his left index finger, which has not fully healed’.

Managing Director of England Men’s Cricket, Ashley Giles, said: ‘Ben has shown tremendous courage to open up about his feelings and wellbeing.

Ben Stokes will take an indefinite break from England duty to prioritise his mental wellbeing

The ECB announced his decision comes to help the left index finger injury that he suffered earlier this year heal

The ECB announced his decision comes to help the left index finger injury that he suffered earlier this year heal

‘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 has been replaced in England’s Test squad to face India – with the five-match series beginning next week at Trent Bridge – by Somerset all-rounder Craig Overton.

The England all-rounder could now miss the entirety of the Test series against Virat Kohli's India

The England all-rounder could now miss the entirety of the Test series against Virat Kohli’s India

Stokes has been replaced in England's Test squad by Somerset all-rounder Craig Overton

Stokes has been replaced in England’s Test squad by Somerset all-rounder Craig Overton

The 30-year-old suffered the finger injury playing for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League in April, and was consequently ruled out for the Test series defeat by New Zealand and the limited-overs games against Sri Lanka earlier this summer. 

Stokes was also set to sit out the ODI series against Pakistan but was recalled to lead a completely fresh, makeshift squad after Eoin Morgan’s men were forced into self-isolation following positive coronavirus tests for three unnamed players and four backroom staff.

Speaking earlier this month to The Mirror, Stokes admitted his finger caused him ‘ridiculous pain’ during the Pakistan series, which his side won 3-0.

‘It was a totally unexpected set of games for me and the truth is I would never have played under normal circumstances due to how much pain I was in with my left index finger,’ he said.

Stokes suffered his injury in April and missed England's defeat by New Zealand earlier this summer

Stokes suffered his injury in April and missed England’s defeat by New Zealand earlier this summer

He was also set to miss the Pakistan ODI series but returned to captain a makeshift squad

He was also set to miss the Pakistan ODI series but returned to captain a makeshift squad

‘The surgery was a success after I had broken it at the IPL, but it was still so painful. Sometimes though you just have to grin and bear it, and captaining England is one of those reasons.

‘The finger has healed structurally, but the pain was just ridiculous for where it should be so that is why I have now had an injection to ease it for the rest of the summer.’

Stokes has also represented Northern Superchargers in the Hundred this summer, competing in their defeats by Welsh Fire and Trent Rockets. 

Stokes has also been competing for Northern Superchargers in the Hundred this month

Stokes has also been competing for Northern Superchargers in the Hundred this month

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