Ben Stokes has taken an indefinite break from all forms of cricket to “to focus on his mental well-being”, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced on Friday.
The ECB further said that it “fully supports” Stokes’ decision and would “continue to help him during this period away from the game”.
Ashley Giles, England’s director of men’s cricket, said Stokes had “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,” Giles said. “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Stokes has also withdrawn his name from England’s Test squad ahead of their five-match series against India starting August 4 at Trent Bridge, with his place taken by Craig Overton.
Stokes’ withdrawal is a major blow to England’s chances in India Tests, given their struggles in his absence during their series defeat against New Zealand in June.