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Ben Stokes to take indefinite break from all cricket to ‘prioritise his mental well-being’

Ben Stokes has announced he is to take an “indefinite” break from all forms of cricket to “prioritise his mental well-being”.

The all-rounder will initially miss the upcoming Test series against India in a move fully supported by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

Managing director of England Men’s Cricket, Ashley Giles, said: “Ben has shown tremendous courage to open up about his feelings and wellbeing.

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Stokes recently led England to a one-day series win over Pakistan

“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.”

Mental health in elite sport has hit the headlines in recent days with gymnast Simone Biles pulling out of a number of Olympic events due to concerns.

Tennis star Naomi Osaka cited pressure as one of the factors in her defeat to world number 42 Marketa Vondrousova.

She had recently taken time out of the sport to focus on her mental wellbeing.

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