England have suffered a major setback as all-rounder Ben Stokes has decided to withdraw his name from the upcoming 5-match Test series against India. The 30-year-old has made this decision to prioritize his mental well-being apart from also resting his left index finger. Notably, Stokes had injured his finger during IPL 2021 and had only returned to England colours during the white-ball series against Pakistan. Craig Overton will replace the southpaw for the Tests against India.
The issue of mental health is something that all the athletes are addressing nowadays, especially considering the present time of pandemic. After Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka had withdrawn her name from French Open, American gymnast Simone Biles recently prioritized her mental health and pulled herself out of the ongoing Tokyo Olympics.
With so many athletes suffering from so much mental pressure to perform at the highest level, the decision by Stokes looks justified considering he has also recently recovered from a terrible injury which had put him on the sidelines for such a long duration. The English fans would be hoping to have their star player fit and available for the 2021 T20 World Cup, followed by the Ashes.
Ben Stokes takes indefinite break from cricket
The England and Wales Cricket Board announced on Friday that Stokes has taken an indefinite break from cricket.
"Our primary focus has always been and will continue to be the mental health and welfare of all of our people," said Ashley Giles, the Managing Director of England Men's Cricket. "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."