IT was very sad to hear, on Saturday morning, that England and Nottinghamshire batsman Alex Hales is taking an indefinite break from the game.

In a statement, Nottinghamshire said: "Alex Hales has made himself unavailable for selection for personal reasons and no timetable has been set for his return to action."

Here is a young man in his 20s with the biggest summer of his cricketing career in front of him, with a home world cup that he and his England colleagues have a very real chance of winning.

Whatever his reasons for taking a break from the game, this cannot have been a decision he has taken lightly.

If he has taken time for mental health reasons then that is to be applauded. World Cup or no World Cup, his mental and physical wellbeing should always come before cricket.

We have seen far too many people in all walks of life battle silently against mental health issues, and this should serve as a wake-up call to businesses, sports teams and employers to look after their employees.

It should also send out a message to those who are struggling that if you are finding it hard to cope, and need to step back, do not be afraid to tell someone.

It could be the case that the reason Mr Hales has stepped away from the game is because he is burnt out by the relentless schedule faced by professional sportsmen and women.

Burnout is a very real threat we all face, regardless of what we do for a living, and more should be done to offer help and support to those who are running on empty.

If we are more open to discussion about burnout, it could potentially save lives.

I hope Alex Hales can return to the game soon and play a key part in England's (Hopefully successful) World Cup Campaign.

His performances over the last few years have been integral to England's transformation into world beaters, and it would be a real shame if he could not take part in his home World Cup.