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Silverwood rules out asking Stokes to return

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LONDON: England will not pressure talismanic all-rounder Ben Stokes to cut short his mental health break and help them try and get back on level terms with India in their ongoing Test series said head coach Chris Silverwood on Tuesday.

Stokes announced at the end of July he was taking ’an indefinite break from all cricket with immediate effect’ because of the stress of his role as one of England’s most high-profile stars.

Silverwood said it was a case of waiting for Stokes to approach him as to when he feels ready to return to the fray.

Aside from the India series, England face a hectic winter schedule. They have two T20 matches in Pakistan in October, the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates and the five-Test Ashes series in Australia and a three-Test series in the West Indies.

“No, there is no pushing from my point of view,” said Silverwood. “I don’t think you can push with these issues. I will wait and there will be an element of waiting for him to come to me to let me know he is ready.”

Stokes missed England’s Test series loss to New Zealand in June due to injury, but returned to captain the one-day team to a 3-0 series win over Pakistan last month.

Silverwood said the decision has to lie with Stokes and his family as to when he feels he is good to go again.

“There is no time limit on it,” said Silverwood. “I would stress again the important thing is Ben is okay.”

Published in Dawn, August 18th, 2021

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