After being ruled out of IPL 2021 after the first match, Stokes was not chosen in the ODI series for the home games against Pakistan. However, with COVID hitting the camp, he was forced to make a comeback and lead a second-string side. England still managed to trounce Pakistan 3-0. Stokes was then rested for the T20I series that followed.
Stokes suffered a broken finger in Rajasthan Royals' first match of IPL 2021. He returned to competitive cricket by playing domestic games for Durham before leading England against Pakistan. He also captained Northern Superchargers in two matches of The Hundred before having to leave the tournament since he was supposed to be part of the Test series against India.
Reacting to Stokes’ decision. ECB threw their weight behind the all-rounder. Releasing a statement, Ashley Giles, Managing Director of England Men's Cricket said, "Ben has shown tremendous courage to open up about his feelings and wellbeing. 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."
"Spending significant amounts of time away from family, with minimal freedoms, is extremely challenging. The cumulative effect of operating almost continuously in these environments over the last 16 months has had a major impact on everyone's well-being. Ben will be given as long as he needs, and we look forward to seeing him playing cricket for England in the future," the statement added.
Following the latest development, Stokes’ participation for Rajasthan Royals in the second half of IPL 2021 is also in further doubt. ECB had already stated that the England players would be expected to give preference to national duty over the IPL.
--By A Cricket Correspondent