England superstar Ben Stokes “will take an indefinite break from all cricket with immediate effect”.
The 30-year-old allrounder will play no part in the forthcoming Test series against India in a bid to safeguard his mental health and rest his injured finger, the England and Wales Cricket Board announced on Friday.
An ECB statement read: “The England and Wales Cricket Board can confirm that England men’s all-rounder Ben Stokes will take an indefinite break from all cricket with immediate effect.
“Stokes has withdrawn from England’s Test squad ahead of the Test series against India starting next week to prioritise his mental wellbeing and to rest his left index finger, which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.
“The ECB fully supports Ben’s decision and we will continue to help him during this period away from the game.”
The ECB confirmed Stokes would be replaced in the England squad by Somerset’s Craig Overton.
England managing director Ashley Giles said Stokes had the ECB’s full support and would be given “as long as he needs” to make a full recovery.
Giles 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.
“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.”