Dinesh Karthik reacts after Ben Stokes pulls out of India Test series to focus on mental health

India cricketer Dinesh Karthik was taken by surprise after the news of England all-rounder Ben Stokes’ withdrawal from the upcoming Test series against India due to mental health surfaced.

Taking to Twitter, the wicketkeeper-batsman said Indian cricketers Virat Kohli and Abhinav Mukund also recently spoke about mental health amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Omg,didn’t see that coming.I remember my best friend @mukundabhinav speak about it. Recently @imVkohli spoke about this being something very real in covid times,” he tweeted.

“Quarantining and bubble life isn’t easy . I promise you. Looks easy because of the luxury , but the battle is within,” he added.

Meanwhile, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has supported Ben Stokes’ decision.

Ashley Giles, Managing Director of England Men’s Cricket, said that the all-rounder will be given as long as he needs and that the ECB will continue to help him during this period away from the game.

Here is ECB’s full statement:

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) can confirm that England Men’s all-rounder Ben Stokes will take an indefinite break from all cricket with immediate effect.

Stokes has withdrawn from England’s Test squad ahead of the LV= Insurance Test series against India starting next week to prioritise his mental wellbeing and to rest his left index finger, which has not fully healed since his return to competitive cricket earlier this month.

The ECB fully supports Ben’s decision, and we will continue to help him during this period away from the game.

Managing Director of England Men’s Cricket, Ashley Giles, 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 wellbeing.”

“Ben will be given as long as he needs, and we look forward to seeing him playing cricket for England in the future.”

Stokes will be replaced in the squad by Somerset’s Craig Overton.

We request that privacy is given to Ben and his family during this time.