England all-rounder Ben Stokes has pulled out of the India Test series to focus on mental health, confirmed the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday.
"The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) can confirm that England Men's all-rounder Ben Stokes will take an indefinite break from all cricket with immediate effect," ECB said in a statement.
"Stokes has withdrawn from England's Test squad ahead of the LV= Insurance Test series against India starting next week to prioritise his mental wellbeing and to rest his left index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," it added.
The ECB further said it supports Stokes' decision, and we will continue to help him during this period away from the game.
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," he added.
"Ben will be given as long as he needs, and we look forward to seeing him playing cricket for England in the future," Giles further said.
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