England captain Ben Stokes left the pitch after being caught in a bowling match against South Africa’s Khaji Sorabada.Photo/AP
Ben Stokes has revealed he is taking medication for anxiety as he continues to battle his father’s death due to his ongoing mental health issues.
Stokes opens a new Amazon documentary, The Phoenix in the Ashes, which will be released on Friday, in which he also expresses his lack of sympathy for the England and Wales Cricket Board when he was charged with a brawl and subsequently cleared. Anger of support. Bristol Crown Court in 2018.
The current England Test captain is now a passionate advocate for mental health issues after taking a break from the game last year. In the film, he reveals that it was the death of his father Gerd, and he is angry and guilty over a story in The Sun about the murder of his half-siblings before he was born, as well as playing an international board. ball and dealing with the pressure of injuries.
“I never talked about these things,” Stokes said. “I feel really bad about something. I never thought I’d be taking medication to help me with these kinds of issues. I’m not embarrassed or ashamed that I needed help at the time.”
He added: “But it’s not done because I come back to play. I’m still talking to the doctor, not as usual, and I’m still taking medication every day. It’s an ongoing process.”
Stokes also detailed how he told ECB officials to “go away” when he asked them to take a selfie on the night of the 2019 Cricket World Cup final, revealing his relationship with the man who runs the competition’s governing body.
In an interview with Telegraph Sport, he also revealed how he wants to change British sport, not just cricket, and said the county championship should not be cut. He said one day skipper Jos Butler and himself should be consulted as part of the current review of domestic county cricket by Sir Andrew Strauss.
But lurking beneath the surface is his anger at the ECB, which features an interview with Oscar-winning director Sir Sam Mendes.
Stokes did not name anyone at the ECB – calling them “suits” – but it was clear he had any lingering questions about how the governing body treated him when he was arrested in September 2017 Going furious, he was referring to board officials. Then gave up that winter’s journey to the ashes.
“Very few, yes, a lot of them also wear suits,” he said when Mendes asked him if he was disappointed during that time. “It’s still there. There will always be,” he added.
His anger boiled over when England celebrated their World Cup final victory in July 2019. “One guy in particular was trying to ask me for a selfie. He was a guy in a suit. I turned around and told him to fuck off – shut down. If this guy doesn’t know how I feel about them, they do know the night of the World Cup final.
Cricket determines when I can see my dying dad – and I’m mad at the sport
Ben Stokes said an exploding glass bottle provided the best analogy to explain how he took an indefinite stay away from cricket last year.
“For a long time, not just weeks or months, but I’d say years, I just put all my emotions in a glass jar,” he said. “I’ll keep filling that bottle while other things happen. Eventually, the next thing that goes in will explode that glass. That’s what happens. It’s just a climax time for something that’s been in a long, long time.”
He lost the England vice-captain and missed the entire Ashes series in 2017 before being acquitted after a fight outside a Bristol nightclub. There was an extraordinary climax to the glorious summer of 2019, when the best player in the Cricket World Cup final followed in what is arguably the greatest Test innings ever. In December 2020, his father, Ged, died of brain cancer, which resulted in the shooting of his half-siblings, and the horrific family trauma was met with an unwelcome public broadcast.
Each episode is treated candidly in an original new film – Ben Stokes: The Phoenix from the Ashes – following Stokes through a rollercoaster period during which he works in a series of Got rid of cricket completely after a panic attack, which included a 6am phone call from the toilet. Agent Neil Fairbrother’s hotel room, where he was in tears, breathless.
Stokes now admits that despite all the joy and pride it brought his dad, he has a deep resentment against cricket that interrupted their last visit to New Zealand.
“The last time I was able to see my dad alive, I had to leave because I was going back to play cricket,” he said. “So during my breaks, I got a real understanding of cricket. I was really pissed off about the sport because it dictates when I can see my dad.” Stewart Broad during the break Meets Stokes regularly and sincerely believes he may never play again, but was back within six months before being named England Test captain earlier this year.
A central part of the film is an interview between Stokes and Oscar-winning film director Sir Sam Mendes, two weeks after he announced in July 2021 that he would be leaving cricket indefinitely. “The interview with Sam … was kind of fantastic because I looked at myself at one of the lowest points,” Stokes said. “Surreal. I look at myself and know it’s me, but I think in my head: ‘Who is that guy? Who is that guy?’” Stokes said he was like “a seashell…my There’s nothing behind the eyes”, certainly a stark contrast to the glowing smiley faces in our interview.
England may have been beaten by South Africa in three days last week, but this summer’s gamble to captain the Stokes appears to have been inspired not only by victories over New Zealand and India, but a bold attempt to overhaul the team’s overall spirit.
So far, it has also provided an interesting answer to those who might question Stokes’ openness to his ongoing mental health challenges, whether he should take on the extra task of captaincy.
“Unfortunately, it’s a mental health stigma – because I took a break for my mental health, which for some reason meant I couldn’t be the captain of my national team,” he said.
And far from adding to the previously shattered imaginary “glass bottle”, the duty so far provided a purpose that only boosted his motivation and seemed to lighten his emotional burden.
“What it has allowed me to do is actually be more vocal about the path to leading this team,” he said. “My motivation is to change the sport in England – to change the mentality of the sport. I feel like I have a responsibility to help people feel confident and to develop a winning mentality for everyone who represents England. What I really like is in People support them when they doubt them. I have no personal or personal goals. I just ask: ‘How many times have I performed to impact the team’s game?’”
Stokes then pointed to what he called “a British mentality, a British way” of often finding the negative in the positive, and said he always risked defeat in search of victory, not contentment. in a draw.
“A good example is the New Zealand series – Headingley chases Johnny [Bairstow] It’s ridiculous,” he said. “It was all, ‘Unbelievable to watch, great Test matches, but you can’t do it every time’. bring it on! Please breathe some positive air. “
The influence of Shane Warne, a Stokes like-minded in the Indian Premier League, is easily discernible, and the Aussie’s contribution to the film now carries a particular poignancy and strength.
Vaughan called Stokes “the hardest-working coach I’ve ever played with” and pointed to the wider impact of his selfless approach. “Fans love game winners,” Vaughan said. “They won’t know their average – what they remember is how they played the game – and Ben played the game the right way.” Of course, Vaughan never captained Australia, and Stokes was prepared to The impression of challenging officialdom is evident again and again in this new film.
Asked if he was disappointed with anyone after his arrest in September 2017 over the Bristol incident, Stokes replied: “Very few, yes, quite a few of them also wear Suit”. He then also revealed that he told Suits to take a ‘f— off’ selfie at Lord’s immediately after the 2019 World Cup final, adding: “If this guy doesn’t know how I feel about them, they do. Know the night of the World Cup final.”
“More work needs to be done so playing three formats is sustainable”
Stokes announced his retirement from the Over-50 One-Day International in July, citing he found it unsustainable to continue competing in this format outside of the Test and T20 schedule.
Earlier this month, he also publicly outlined his feelings about the ongoing review of British cricket and suggestions that county championship cricket could be cut further. The idea has drawn backlash from grassroots county members, and Stokes made it clear they would have his influential support.
“Everyone can have an opinion – I think it’s just a matter of being brave,” he said. “If someone doesn’t like your opinion and says, ‘Stop doing this,’ I’m probably not the right person to tell you. I’m not arrogant and stupid to think that nobody can have an opinion.
“What I would like to see is more work being done to make all three formats sustainable for people who want to play all three. It’s not just the structure of the international calendar that needs attention, but the structure of the national calendar in England. My personal opinion is that taking away the county championship is not the answer.
“It’s not going to be an easy question. You’re never going to get the right answer for everyone. That’s life. But it would be nice to be included as captain. Me and Joss [Buttler] Would love to get more involved in something like this to help with the decision. But I’m not dodgy digging of anyone here – I’m just expressing what I feel I’m entitled to. “
Stokes will also continue to speak with similar candor about his own mental health and how he thinks it has helped him become a better captain.
“The best way is to take each day and not wake up and feel like you have to be someone you don’t belong to on that particular day,” he said. “Some days you’re going to have a good time. Some days, you just wake up and you don’t feel as good as the day before. But, on these days, you don’t feel as good as the day before.” You’ve done this before, try not to pretend you’re very good. That’s not sustainable, it’s not a true reflection of humanity.
“Most of the time I feel fine, it’s like it’s cold, it’s normal. But other days I’ll wake up and I’ll say: ‘I can’t do anything today.’
“What it allows me to do is get to know other people. I feel like I can notice different emotions in people.
“I find that sometimes people are a little nervous about going into detail with me about these kinds of things. People think you can’t feel a certain way – it’s a sign of weakness, that you’re not feeling well mentally. People think they can’t ask people who have struggled people. No. Never mind. I’ll tell you as much as I can.
The ongoing nature of the challenge is also acknowledged in the film. “Frustration is your biggest teacher,” he said. “The phrase ‘Phoenix in the Ashes’ is perfect for me. I’m not on the other side yet, but being able to manage it every day, I think it’s a huge achievement.”
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