Ben Stokes becomes latest athlete to step back from sport to focus on his ...

Ben Stokes becomes latest athlete to step back from sport to focus on his ...
Ben Stokes becomes latest athlete to step back from sport to focus on his ...

Ben Stokes has become the latest major athlete to take a step back from sport to focus on his mental health.

The England cricketer, 30, will take an 'indefinite break' from both international and domestic matches to 'prioritise his mental wellbeing and to rest his left index finger, which has not fully healed'.

His announcement comes after fellow global stars Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles withdrew from competitions this year, citing their mental wellness.

Osaka dropped out of the French Open after sparking a backlash by refusing to honour her media commitments at the tournament, while Biles this week withdrew from the US team gymnastics final following an uncharacteristic error.

Meanwhile rising British tennis star Emma Raducanu also sparked a debate about mental toughness when she pulled out of Wimbledon, with John McEnroe saying 'it got a bit too much' for the 18-year-old. 

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England cricket managing director Ashley Giles praised Stokes for revealing how he was feeling, stating: 'Ben has shown tremendous courage to open up about his feelings and wellbeing.

England all-rounder Stokes

Stokes could now miss the whole of the India series

Ben Stokes will take an indefinite break from England duty to prioritise his mental wellbeing

Naomi Osaka dropped out of the French Open after sparking a backlash by refusing to honour her media commitments at the tournament

Naomi Osaka dropped out of the French Open after sparking a backlash by refusing to honour her media commitments at the tournament

Simone Biles this week withdrew from the US team gymnastics final following an uncharacteristic error

Simone Biles this week withdrew from the US team gymnastics final following an uncharacteristic error

Managing director Ashley Giles (R) praised Stokes for showing courage to open up

Managing director Ashley Giles (R) praised Stokes for showing courage to open up

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'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.'

Stokes, 30, will miss at least the first two Tests at Trent Bridge and Lord's in England's India Test series and has been replaced in the squad by Somerset all-rounder Craig Overton.

The England all-rounder could now miss the entirety of the Test series against Virat Kohli's India

The England all-rounder could now miss the entirety of the Test series against Virat Kohli's India

Stokes has been replaced in England's Test squad by Somerset all-rounder Craig Overton (R)

Stokes has been replaced in England's Test squad by Somerset all-rounder Craig Overton (R)

The 30-year-old broke his finger playing for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League in April, and was consequently ruled out of the Test series defeat by New Zealand and the limited-overs games against Sri Lanka earlier this summer. 

Stokes was also set to sit out the ODI

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