'I just want my friend to be OK' - Joe Root wants Ben Stokes to take all the time he needs to recover

Earlier, even India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane also said that the visitors respects Stokes' decision.

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Ben Stokes and Joe Root
Ben Stokes and Joe Root . (Photo Source: Getty Images)

England’s skipper Joe Root has thrown his full support behind all-rounder Ben Stokes who has pulled out of the India series to look after his mental health. The all-rounder will also recover from his finger injury in the process. Root wants Stokes to take all the time he needs to get better in terms of his mental well-being and has expressed that his friend and teammate should be fine at all costs.

The bio-bubble life has certainly made life difficult for the players. Moreover, Ben Stokes was already away from the sport having sustained a finger injury during the Indian Premier League (IPL) earlier in the year. While ECB was not rushing him back to the national team, the COVID cases in the limited-overs squad post the Sri Lanka series, forced Ben Stokes to comeback for the Pakistan ODIs and lead a second or possibly the third string team.

Joe Root reiterated ECB’s words stating that Ben Stokes has full support of the team and also stressed that this is the time for him to take care of his health while cricket is completely secondary in this situation. “From my point of view, I just want my friend to be OK. Anyone who knows Ben, he always puts other people first.

“Now is an opportunity for him to put himself first, to take time to look after himself and get to a good place again. Hopefully, that can be sooner rather than later. Cricket has to be a secondary thought, a long way down the line, and he should take as much time as he needs.

“He’s got my full support on that and he’s been assured he’s got the full support of the ECB. And certainly, he’s got the whole team’s support. More than anything, we just want Ben to be OK. He’s got everyone behind him,” Root said according to The Guardian.

Joe Root spoke to Ben Stokes about his issue

Joe Root also revealed that he had a call with Ben Stokes and that is when he got to know about the all-rounder’s mental health issue. The England captain also felt that the cricketer’s privacy should be respected at this point of time and give Stokes required time to deal with the problem.

“I had a conversation with Ben and that’s when I found out. The call will stay between the two of us but it was hard to see a friend like that. It’s important for people to respect his privacy to give him the best chance to deal with this in his own way,” Root added.

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