England all-rounder Ben Stokes has taken an indefinite break from all forms of cricket to prioritise mental health and focus on resting his index finger, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said in a statement.
Official Statement: Ben Stokes
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) July 30, 2021
In the statement, ECB said,
""Stokes has withdrawn from England's Test squad ahead of the LV=Insurance Test series against India starting next week to prioritise his mental wellbeing and to rest his left index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."" - ECB, as per ANI
The English all-rounder had fractured his left index finger while playing for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Earlier, Stokes had said that he played the three-match One-day International series against Pakistan with "ridiculous pain" in his finger. He was called on to lead the team as England's first squad isolated due to seven COVID-19 cases in the team.
Before the tests, Stokes was rushed back to play for Durham in the Vitality Blast after they fell short of players owing similar circumstances.
In a column for The Mirror, Stokes had written, "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 had also later expressed that he hopes his finger will heal ahead of the Test Series with India – "because that is a huge series and one, we are all desperate to perform well in."
In Friday's statement, the ECB said they fully supported Stokes' decision and would continue to help him during his time away from the game.
Their managing director of men's cricket, Ashley Giles further 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."" - ECB statement
Stokes becomes the latest high-profile sportsperson to step away from the pressures of competition, following in the heels of American gymnast Simone Biles pulled out of two events at the Tokyo Olympics over her mental health, as well as Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka, who withdrew from the French Open.
(With inputs from The Mirror.)
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