Stokes happy to swop 2019 success for father's health

LONDON • England's Ben Stokes has said that he would trade all the personal success he enjoyed last year if it meant his father was no longer in hospital.

The cricketer's participation in last month's first Test against South Africa was called into doubt when his father Ged was admitted to a Johannesburg hospital with what a team spokesman said was a serious illness after travelling out to watch his son.

The 64-year-old was admitted to intensive care but his condition improved sufficiently for Stokes to play in a match which England, hit by a flu bug, lost by 107 runs to fall 1-0 behind in the four-Test series.

Ged Stokes remains in hospital, with wife Deborah at his side, while the rest of the family have moved to Cape Town - the scene of Ben's stunning career-best 258 four years ago - for the start of the second Test tomorrow.

Last year has been a successful one for Stokes, who played a key role in England's thrilling World Cup final win over New Zealand before a remarkable unbeaten century secured a dramatic one-wicket win over Australia in the third Ashes Test at Headingley.

But in his column for Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper on Tuesday, England vice-captain Stokes, recently voted the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year in a public poll, said: "At the end of the most memorable of years, I am finding it quite hard to sum up 2019 right now.

"There have been some unbelievable highs, and some real lows, but to see out the year with my dad in hospital has put things into perspective. If someone could say 'I'll take everything away from you that happened this summer, but your dad is happy, healthy and watching you play cricket', then I'd say yeah, swop it."

The 28-year-old Durham all-rounder added that his father had undergone an "unbelievable turnaround" but still had a way to go, as he thanked medical staff for their "fantastic care".

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 02, 2020, with the headline 'Stokes happy to swop 2019 success for father's health'. Print Edition | Subscribe