Former England captain Michael Vaughan has spoken on the mental health of the players in a reaction to Ben Stokes’ withdrawal from the upcoming Tests against India at home. The star all-rounder pulled out of the series to take “an indefinite break from all cricket” in order to focus on his mental wellbeing while also continue his recovery from a finger injury.
“If Ben is struggling, then potentially many others will be too. When you see someone like Ben, who we know is mentally tough and has the ability he has to produce under the utmost pressure on the cricketing stage, it’s a wake-up call for us all,” Michael Vaughan said on BBC Radio 5 Live.
Ben Stokes had been in the bubble, away from his family, for a major portion of last year, either with the national team or at franchise teams. He has also been dealing with the passing away of his father, Ged, who dies last year in New Zealand after a battle with cancer.
Last month, the all-rounder was fast-tracked to play for Durham in the Blast due to a Covid-19 outbreak in their second XI squad. He was then was called up to captain a second-string England team against Pakistan in an ODI series, which the hosts won 3-0, after the originally picked squad was hit by the virus.
Your mind is being challenged all the time: Michael Vaughan
The 2005 Ashes-winning skipper further stated that although it is the job of the cricketers to play cricket and they are handsomely played for it, their mind also needs rest apart from their body.
He pointed out that the past year-and-a-half has been extremely challenging for the players as they have been living in different bio-bubbles for a long time away from their families.
“We have to study the last 18 months, and realise that these cricketers are being put in circumstances which they are not trained for, like being locked away continuously in a bubble. The Test team got back into a bubble today for the first two Tests against India, where they’ll be restricted again to a hotel and a cricket ground, and not be able to go out and do normal things.
“There will be many out there thinking they’re cricketers, and that’s what they’re paid to do. But it’s such a time-consuming sport where your mind is being challenged all the time,” Michael Vaughan said.
Craig Overton has been added to England’s squad as Stokes’ replacement. The first Test starts on August 4th at Trent Bridge.