Ben Stokes, the talismanic England all-rounder, is taking an indefinite break from all cricket with immediate effect "to prioritise his mental wellbeing", the England and Wales Cricket Board stated on Friday, 30 July.
The break, which will see Stokes miss the upcoming ICC World Test Championship series against India, has also been taken with a view "to rest his left index finger, which has not fully healed since his return to competitive cricket earlier this month."
Ashley Giles, the Managing Director of England Men's Cricket, said the all-rounder "has shown tremendous courage to open up about his feelings and wellbeing."
BREAKING: England's star all-rounder Ben Stokes has taken an indefinite break from all cricket with immediate effect. pic.twitter.com/lcQSAMYUGt— ICC (@ICC) July 30, 2021
"Our primary focus has always been and will continue to be the mental health and welfare of all of our people," said Giles. "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."
Craig Overton has been named as his replacement for the Test series against India.