England cricketer Ben Stokes will take a mental health break.

England all-rounder Ben Stokes has taken an extended hiatus from all cricket, effective immediately, to prioritise his mental health and complete his recuperation from a left index finger injury, according to the country’s cricket body (ECB).

Ben Stokes will take an extended hiatus from playing cricket, the England and Wales Cricket Board has said. Stokes has withdrawn from England’s Test team ahead of the next Test series against India in order to focus on his mental health and rest his left index finger, which has not fully healed since his comeback to competitive cricket earlier this month.

The ECB stated that it completely supported his choice and that it would “continue to assist him throughout this time away from the game. Ben has showed amazing bravery in speaking openly about his thoughts and well-being. Spending considerable periods of time away from family while having little liberties is incredibly difficult. The cumulative effect of nearly constant operation in these conditions over the previous 16 months has had a significant influence on everyone’s well-being. Ashley Giles, England’s director of men’s cricket, stated, “Our first emphasis has always been and will continue to be the mental health and welfare of all of our employees.”

Stokes missed two tests against Pakistan last summer after taking a five-week vacation from cricket to see his family in Christchurch and assist with the care of his father, who died in December following a year-long struggle with brain cancer.

Stokes has been out with a finger injury all summer and will miss England’s home test series against New Zealand in June after fracturing his finger in April while playing for the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League. He returned to competitive action for Durham in the Vitality Blast earlier this month, ahead of schedule, due to a COVID-19 outbreak in their second team.

In a similar situation, Stokes guided a second-string England side to a 3-0 one-day series victory over Pakistan. Stokes most recently played in The Hundred for the Northern Superchargers. The first of five tests between England and India begins on August 4 at Trent Bridge. His decision came just days after American gymnast Simone Biles withdrew from two events at the Tokyo Olympics to protect her mental health.

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