England spinner Jack Leach said on Sunday that Ben Stokes has shown courage and bravery to prioritise his mental health. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday announced that all-rounder Stokes will be taking an indefinite break from the game to ‘prioritise mental wellbeing and to rest his left index finger’.

“All the lads are behind Ben and supporting him where we can. He has shown courage and bravery to prioritise his mental health. He is a focal part of our team and we will miss him. His priority is to take some time out from the game to get better. We can’t wait to welcome him back in the near future and winning games of cricket for England,” said Leach, who is a part of England’s squad for the five-match Test series against India, to The Guardian.

The left-arm spinner further talked about being in and out of England’s Test eleven due to illness and selection combinations. Leach wasn’t a part of the two Tests against New Zealand in June, which England lost 0-1.

“There’s been a little bit of chat (about families on tour for Ashes). But through my experiences in the past, missing bits of cricket through illness or injury, I want to be doing everything I can to play for England, reach my potential and see what I can achieve at the highest level,” spoke the 30-year-old.

He also feels that the series against India could strengthen his case for a tour to Ashes in Australia at the end of the year. This year, Leach took 28 wickets overall on England’s Test trips to Sri Lanka and India.

“My way of doing things is taking one little part at a time and I’m very focused on this India series. If I don’t play well, [Australia] might not be where I’m going in the winter. It’s about taking care of what is in front of you.

“It’s something I’d be very excited about, Australia in Australia. It’s the ultimate test and something you grow up looking at and thinking: ‘Wow, it’s amazing.’ I’ll just think about what’s in front of me: Test matches against India,” concluded Leach.