BEN STOKES has taken an “indefinite break” from cricket to focus on his mental health.
The England allrounder will be given “as long as he needs” after pulling out of England’s Test squad for their upcoming series against India.
He will also rest his left index finger, which has not fully healed since his return to competitive cricket earlier this month.
Stokes said: “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.
“We are all human and our mental well-being is very important. The ECB are right to look after their players as best they can.”
The England legend lost his dad to brain cancer last year and withdrew from the England team in the Pakistan series to be with his family.
Speaking at the time, he said: “I didn’t sleep for a week and my head wasn’t really in it.
“Leaving [the team] was the right choice from a mental point of view.”
Managing Director of England Men’s Cricket, Ashley Giles, said the pandemic over the last year has piled even greater demand on athletes.
Speaking of Stokes’ Speaking of Ben’s “tremendous courage” in opening up, he said: “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.”
He added that Ben will be given “as long as he needs” and “we look forward to seeing him playing cricket for England in the future.”
It comes four years after he was found not guilty of affray after a brawl in Bristol.
The cricket ace was cleared after a court heard he was defending a gay couple who were being abused.
MORE TO FOLLOW
JOIN SUN VEGAS: GET A FREE £10 BONUS WITH 100s OF GAMES TO PLAY AND NO DEPOSIT REQUIRED (Ts&Cs apply)
DREAM TEAM IS BACK! SIGN UP NOW FOR THE 21/22 SEASON FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN £100,000
MORE TO FOLLOW