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India in England: Root, Rahane back Stokes’s decision to pull out

Ben Stokes has received support from both English and Indian players for his decision to pull out of the Test series against India which begins on Wednesday here at the Trent Bridge.

“Anyone who knows Ben knows that he puts England in front of himself first. He has an opportunity to put himself first, to take time to look after himself so that he is able to play [later]. Hopefully, that will be sooner than later. I think cricket needs to be a secondary thought down the line and he should think of himself first,” said England Test captain Root in a virtual media interaction on Monday.

Stokes has pulled out of the Test series citing mental health concerns as well as a finger fracture that he sustained during the Indian Premier League. He captained a depleted England side through pain during the ODI series against Pakistan, leading his side to a 3-0 win.

India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane too backed Stokes’s decision to pull out of the series saying that a player needs to play at the highest level and for that, he needs to be fit mentally.

“Bubble life is really challenging from players’ point of view. What Ben Stokes did, it was his point of view and you got to understand th’ player’s mindset as well. It is all about how he is feeling. Because when you play at the highest level, you want to give your best, more than 100%. And your mental health matters a lot. We respect his decision,” said Rahane in a virtual conference.

“I am sure Indian teammates also respect his decision. It is all about, you have to understand what is the player going through in that difficult moment. We respect that decision, whatever he did. It is tough to be in the bubble all the time and give your best all the time,” added Rahane.

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