Cumbrian cricket star Ben Stokes is taking an "indefinite" break from the sport to focus on his mental well-being.

It has been revealed that the all-rounder will step back from the game with immediate effect.

The news was broken today by the Mirror, for whom Stokes is a columnist, and has now been confirmed by the England & Wales Cricket Board.

The decision sees 30-year-old Stokes withdraw from England's Test squad ahead of the Test series against India, starting next week.

The ECB said Stokes wished to "prioritise his mental wellbeing", and also to rest his left index finger, "which has not fully healed since his return to competitive cricket earlier this month". 

The ECB said they fully support the Cockermouth star's decision, and will continue to help him during his 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.

The ECB have requested that privacy is given to Stokes and his family during this time. 

The Mirror reported that Stokes is taking a break after "years of emotional highs and lows" and requires a complete break.

The Durham star recently returned to international action after his finger injury, captaining England's ODI side against Pakistan.

But the all-rounder recently spoke of the need to prioritise mental well-being in his newspaper column.

He wrote: “Just because we are in nice hotels and are well paid doesn’t mean we don’t go through the same stresses and strains as everyone else,” said Stokes.

“We are all human and our mental well-being is very important. The ECB are right to look after their players as best they can.”

Stokes has been playing for the Northern Superchargers in The Hundred.