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Stokes believes he can ‘relate to anything’ as England captain

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en Stokes hopes that the break he took to prioritise his mental health last year will make him an approachable and relatable England captain, and revealed that he continues to receive regular support from a psychologist.

Stokes was confirmed as Test captain last week by new Managing Director Rob Key, and conducted his first media appearances on Tuesday at his home ground, Chester-le-Street.

Last year, Stokes spent more than four months out of the game as he managed his mental health and nursed a broken finger. He believes that experience – and others in an eventful career – is positve now he has assumed the captaincy.

“I took my break back then because I needed to,” he said. “I spoke with someone and I will continue to do that.

“Personally I see not just that scenario but a lot of scenarios before that – on the field stuff, off-field stuff that I’ve been through is a positive for me now given the responsibility of being the captain because I feel like I can relate to anything.

“If any of the players might be struggling with something I have been that person in the dressing room and it’s not just younger players, but also senior players should feel like they can talk to me. I hope that doesn’t change now I’m captain.

Stokes said the “hardest thing to do in the first place is to talk to somebody”, and encouraged players to speak up when they needed help.

“I have been a massive advocate for this area since I took my break and I will continue to do that,” he said.

“I know how important it is not just for our players but the people who tour around with us. They do the exact same stuff day in day out that we do.

“But I have that experience to talk to anybody, whoever they may be, if they feel like they need to. The hardest thing to do in the first place is to talk to somebody.”

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