Ben Stokes opens up about mental health battle and admits he was in ‘dark place’

Stokes has been added to England’s squad for the Ashes series in Australia this winter

Dylan Terry
Tuesday 26 October 2021 11:00
FILE: Ben Stokes is added to England's Ashes squad

England cricketer Ben Stokes has opened up about his mental health battle after taking a sustained break from the international set-up.

The 30-year-old took a hiatus from the England team in July to rest an injured finger and protect his mental wellbeing.

But he is now set to return later this year after being added to the squad for the upcoming Ashes series in Australia this winter.

Stokes has been given the all-clear following a second operation on his fractured finger and also insists he is now in a much better place when it comes to his mental health.

In his column for The Mirror, he wrote: “[England captain Joe Root] said it was great to hear me sounding so well and that is the truth of it. I feel much better about everything from my finger to my mental wellbeing.

“I know I can focus once again on playing my best cricket Down Under this winter.

“I probably didn’t realise just how much of an issue the finger was causing me until I got it sorted the second time around.

“But I had also been struggling with bubble life and events off the field. I don’t want anyone to feel the way I did, because I wasn’t in a good place and I’m not afraid to admit it.

“I was in a real dark place and having some difficult thoughts. I was always one of those people who wouldn’t talk about how they are feeling and just keep it internal and crack on. I now realise talking is such a powerful thing and it has completely changed me.”

Despite England failing to regain the Ashes in 2019, Stokes was one of the stories of the tournament as his sensational unbeaten 135 helped England win the third Test.

And he will be hoping to find some of that magic once more when the first Test gets underway on 8 December.

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