England cricketer Ben Stokes t...


England cricketer Ben Stokes takes break to protect mental health

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England cricketer Ben Stokes will take an indefinite break from the sport with immediate effect.

The all-rounder has withdrawn from the Test squad ahead of the upcoming series against India, which starts next week, to prioritise his mental wellbeing.

In a statement, the ECB say they fully support his decision and will continue to help him during this period away from the game.

Stokes lost his father Ged at the age of just 65 last December.

The all-rounder becomes the latest major sporting figure to step back from their sport in an effort to protect their mental health.

Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open and Wimbledon this summer having revealed a battle with depression.

While US gymnast Simone Biles has outlined her own struggles with her mental health at the Tokyo Olympics.

Managing Director of England Men's Cricket, Ashley 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."

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