Star England all-rounder Ben Stokes has taken an indefinite break from all forms of cricket. The southpaw thus won’t be part of the upcoming five-match Test series against India. With the Ashes lined up next year, Stokes wanted a break so that he can focus on his mental wellbeing and rest his left index finger, which has not fully healed since his return to competitive cricket earlier this month. Stokes had earlier stressed on the difficulties faced by players in the 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.
The England Cricket Board has extended their full support to Ben Stokes during his time away from the game. 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.”
The bubble life has taken a toll on players’ health, not only in cricket but in other sports as well. Earlier, American superstar gymnast Simone Biles also pulled out of the two events at Tokyo Olympics to protect his mental stress.
Stokes, being a fast-bowling all-rounder adds a lot of balance to the side and his absence has given Joe Root a massive headache ahead of the marquee series. Stokes’ announcement came just hours after ECB said that players’ welfare was paramount ahead of the Ashes. With stern COVID-19 protocols in Australia, the England players may not be allowed to travel with their families thus many are considering pulling out of the tour.