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Ben Stokes To Continue Mental Health Focus

04/05/22

- Grant Whittington

Newly appointed English Test captain Ben Stokes has vowed to retain his therapist for aiding his mental health as he takes on the new challenge.

Stokes said this week his extended mental health break should now be viewed as anything negative. Instead, the native New Zealander said his four-month break has only helped mould him into a better and stronger leader.

He also said that he now deems himself more able to relate to mental health challenges that could arise for his fellow-players.

Mental Health No Negative Issue

Stokes said despite the media’s often-negative betrayal of his mental health break, he has a great deal of experience in terms of what cricket and life can throw at someone. He also said he views his past experiences as valuable lessons heading into his new role.

Stokes said players should feel that they can discuss anything with him.

One such valuable experience had been his arrest for causing a disturbance back in 2017. Even though he was later acquitted of the charge, he said he continues to view this time in his life as a positive learning curve. Everything – both good and bad – is an experience to learn and grow, he explained.

England’s Test side has a lot on its plate right now. Not only is the team having to come to terms with the resignation of Joe Root, but the players are also now learning to operate under a new set of rules under Rob Key, who is the England & Wales Cricket Board’s new director of men’s cricket. According to Stokes, however, the turbulence recently experienced will have no bearing on the selection process going forward.

Stokes Will Rely On His Gut

On the matter of selection, Stokes said the plan is to include senior players in his decision-making processes on the field. He said that going with his gut feel has always served him well in the past, and that he’ll continue in the same fashion going forward.

During his first conference with the press as the new Test captain, Stokes confirmed the likely return of Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson after a period of rest. He described the pair as two of the best bowlers and two of cricket’s greatest.

The 30-year-old also revealed that he’ll be moving himself to No. 6 in the batting order. He said he believed that this would position him to be more powerful and effective with the bat as well as the ball. The all-rounder said he believes that this will enable him to be at his “very best” for the English national side.

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