Stokes feared he might not play again after taking break from cricket

Stokes decided to prioritise his mental health after suffering from a series of panic attacks following the death of his father almost two years ago



Ben Stokes during a practice session. (Reuters)
Ben Stokes during a practice session. (Reuters)

By Reuters

Published: Tue 23 Aug 2022, 10:59 PM

Last updated: Tue 23 Aug 2022, 11:00 PM

England Test captain Ben Stokes on Tuesday said he had feared he might not play again after taking an extended break from cricket last year to focus on his wellbeing.

Stokes decided to prioritise his mental health after suffering from a series of panic attacks following the death of his father due to brain cancer almost two years ago.

Speaking about his state of mind prior to taking the break, Stokes told the BBC, "It wasn't over two weeks or a couple of months. It built up over a long, long time, maybe even like three or four years.

"It was like I had a glass bottle I kept on throwing my emotions into. Eventually, it got too full and just exploded."

Stokes addresses his mental health at length in an Amazon documentary, which will be released on Friday and features interviews with past and present England players, including team mate Stuart Broad.

In a trailer for the documentary, Broad says he could have seen Stokes never playing again, and when asked if that possibility had crossed his mind, Stokes said; "At the time, yeah. That's where I was at."

"I had never spoken to Stuart about that through my time away," Stokes added.

"I spoke to him a lot through that period but just general chit-chat, nothing too serious. I had never said the words to him, that I can't play again, but the fact that he got that feeling was an eye-opener to me that ... things were quite bad."

Stokes announced in July he would retire from one-day cricket citing the "unsustainable" rigour of playing all three formats of the game.


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