Star England all-rounder Ben Stokes has shockingly taken an indefinite break from all forms of cricket. Stokes will be prioritizing his mental wellbeing and continue his recovery from a finger injury which he sustained in the first leg of IPL. The all-rounder thus won’t be part of the 5-match Test series against India and the following IPL. Ashley Giles, England’s director of men’s cricket said Stokes had “shown tremendous courage to open up about his feelings and wellbeing.”
From the difficulties he faced during the court case in the fallout at night in Bristol to winning the 50 over World Cup for England, and to the famous victory in Headingly in 2019 where he single-handedly saved the Ashes for England, the last few years have been a rollercoaster of emotions for Stokes. While he was setting the stage on fire with his brilliant on-field performances, he received a massive setback when his dad passed away in December battling brain cancer.
The ECB has ensured all support to Stokes during his time away from the game. Earlier, Stokes had stressed on the difficulties of staying in bio bubble.
“Just because we are in nice hotels and are well paid doesn’t mean we don’t go through the same stresses and strains as everyone else,” said Stokes.
Managing Director of England Men’s Cricket, Ashley Giles, said as quoted by ECB’s official website, “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.”
Earlier, Indian skipper Virat Kohli also emphasized on the challenges faced by players in the bio-bubble. Kohli felt that the game has to consider some important scheduling changes in order to concentrate on players’ well-being during this COVID-19 era. Meanwhile, Craig Overton has been named as Stokes’ replacement for the India series.