Ben Stokes takes indefinite break from cricket, set to miss Test series against India

With immediate effect, England Men’s all-rounder Ben Stokes will take an indefinite break from all cricket formats, according to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

He made the decision to put his mental health first while also tending to his damaged left index finger. This means he will miss England’s next assignment, a five-match Test series against India, which is the summer’s most important international event.

The official statement from 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 last played international cricket this month, when he captained England’s second-string ODI side to a 3-0 series victory over Pakistan and had excruciating pain in his fractured finger while he watched the T20I series. He also recently played for Northern Superchargers in The Hundred. Craig Overton will take his place in the squad.