Mental health has become a big talking point in world sports.
The latest victim of this is iconic England all-rounder, Ben Stokes.
Stokes will take an indefinite break from all forms of cricket to “prioritise his mental well-being”, as per announcement by the England and Wales Cricket Board.
As a result, Stokes will skip the five-match series against India starting at Trent Bridge next week.
Stokes will be replaced in the squad by Somerset’s Craig Overton.
The official statement said – “Stokes has withdrawn from England’s Test squad ahead of the Test series against India starting next week to prioritise his mental wellbeing and to rest his left index finger, which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.”
The 30-year-old Stokes was chosen to lead England in the one-day international series against Pakistan after all those originally selected were ruled out by a coronavirus outbreak.
The ECB said they fully supported Stokes’ decision and would continue to help him during his time away from the game.
The managing director of ECB men’s cricket, Ashley Giles, said, “Ben has shown tremendous courage to open up about his feelings and well-being.”
“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.”
Mental health struggles of Simone Biles
Just a few days ago, American superstar gymnast Simone Biles pulled out of two events at the Tokyo Olympics to protect her mental health.
Biles put up a post on her Instagram talking about her struggles but later deleted it.
She put up a post saying, “For anyone saying I quit, I didn’t quit.”
She added, “My mind & body are simply not in sync, as you can see here.”
She shared a video of her falling onto a mat while practising an uneven bars dismount and wrote, “I don’t think you realize how dangerous this is on hard/competition surface.
Nor do I have to explain why I put health first. Physical health is mental health”.
Recently, Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka was also in the news for being vocal about the pressures of modern sport.
Osaka withdrew from the French Open after refusing to take part in press conferences, claiming they are akin to “kicking people when they are down”.
She also skipped Wimbledon but was present in Tokyo to light up the Olympic cauldron at the opening ceremony.