England v India: Joe Root says ‘I simply need my pal to be OK’ after Ben Stokes takes break

Ben Stokes and Joe Root


Ben Stokes (left) has played 69 of his 71 Tests alongside Joe Root (right)
Venue: Trent Bridge Date: 4-8 August Time: 11:00 BST
Coverage: In-play highlights, Test Match Special commentary and text coverage on the BBC Sport website and app. Watch daily highlights on Today at the Test at 19:00 BST on BBC Two

England Test captain Joe Root says “I just want my friend to be OK” after Ben Stokes took an indefinite break from cricket for mental health reasons.

On Saturday all-rounder Stokes, 30, withdrew from the squad for the five-Test series against India, which starts on Wednesday at Trent Bridge.

“He’s one of my closest friends in the game,” Root told BBC Sport.

“I hope he can get himself back to being Ben Stokes again – that’s all we all want.”

Root added: “As long as I’ve known Ben, he puts everyone else first, and now is an opportunity to put himself first.

“He has my full support and he has the whole team’s full support on that. It’s important he takes as long as he needs.

“This is an…