Ben Stokes: England all-rounder to miss India Test series and take ‘indefinite break’ from all cricket


Ben Stokes

Ben Stokes “will take an indefinite break from all cricket with immediate effect” and has withdrawn from England’s squad for the five-Test series against India.

The all-rounder will prioritise his mental wellbeing and rest his left index finger which has not fully healed, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said in a statement.

Stokes, 30, will be replaced in the squad by Somerset’s Craig Overton.

The Test series begins on Wednesday.

The ECB have requested that privacy is given to Stokes and his family during his absence from the game.

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

“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 played in 71 Tests, 101 one-day-internationals and 34 Twenty20s for England.

The Durham star took a period of compassionate leave between August and October last year to be with his father Ged, who died in December.

He missed the home Test series against New Zealand in June after injuring his finger playing for the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League earlier this year and returned to captain the limited-overs squad against Pakistan after a Covid outbreak forced England to name an entirely new squad.

Having led England to series wins in the T20s and ODIs, Stokes most recently captained Northern Superchargers in the opening two games of The Hundred.

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