Match-winning English all-rounder, Ben Stokes had recently announced that he will be missing the five-match Test series against India due to mental health issues. Although he has not clearly stated that when he will be returning back to competitive cricket but many experts and critics lauded the decision as Stokes has prioritized his mental health. Even, the vetran seamer, James Anderson has backed Stokes and offered to help him in whatever capacity possible.
The England all-rounder was recently led the squad in in the ODI series against Pakistan. Stokes was earlier unavailable for the selection in the Pakistan series, but had to be recalled after England’s squad members testing COVID-19 positive. While announcing his decision to take a break from the game due to mental health, Ben Stokes also urged the need to nurse his index finger injury.
Speaking in a pre-match press conference, England’s Test skipper, Joe Root spoke about how all of the England players are backing Stokes in these tough times. As per the quotes in BBC Sport, Root said, “I just want my friend to be okay. He’s one of my closest friends in the game.”
He further added, “He has my full support and, he has the whole team’s full support on that. It’s important he takes as long as he needs. This is an opportunity to be with his family and give himself the opportunity to feel like the best version of Ben Stokes.”
James Anderson also echoed similar sentiments and stated that Stokes took the right decision to prioritize his health at this point.
As per the quotes in Sky Sports, James Anderson, “I thought Joe was amazing with how he spoke and, the emotion he showed really speaks for the rest of the team. We just want Ben to be okay, we want him to get the help that he needs and comes back strong because he’s such a fantastic player for us.”
He further added, “The most important thing, he’s good mates with most of the guys here in the team, so we’re just concerned for his health more than anything and hope he’s alright.”