Ben Stokes will take an indefinite break from all cricket with immediate effect to prioritise his mental wellbeing and to rest his left index finger, England and Wales Cricket Board announced on Friday. He will miss the five-Test series against India.
“Ben has shown tremendous courage to open up about his feelings and wellbeing," Managing Director of England Men’s Cricket, Ashley Giles, said.
“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."
Craig Overton will replace Ben Stokes in the squad for the Test series.
“We request that privacy is given to Ben and his family during this time," the ECB said.
Stokes has has plenty of highs and lows over the years, ranging from bowling the last over of the T20 World Cup in 2016 to a brawl in Bristol to the highs of the World Cup 2019 and the Ashes match at Headingley in the same year. Off the field, he had a tough time with his father Ged falling ill before eventually passing away last December.
Stokes injured his finger during the IPL 2021 while catching Chris Gayle in a match for Rajasthan Royals against Punjab Kings. He recently featured in the ODIs against Pakistan, leading England to a 3-0 series sweep after their original squad was forced to isolate due to COVID-19 cases.
England have plenty of important series lined up this year. Following the India Tests, they have the T20 World Cup, and an Ashes in Australia.