Ben Stokes arrives in New Zealand to be with his father who is battling brain cancer
29-year-old Stokes, currently regarded as one of the best all-rounders of the game, was 12 when he left Christchurch to live in the north of England.
Updated - Aug 29, 2020 2:16 pm
England star all-rounder Ben Stokes withdrew from the Test series against Pakistan owing to family reasons. The No.1 ranked all-rounder, after the first Test at Manchester, flew to his parents’ house after playing the first Test at Manchester.
It has now been revealed that Gerard Stokes, father of Ben and former New Zealand rugby player, is battling brain cancer. This was the reason which forced Ben Stokes to leave the England squad midway and be with his seriously ill father. The all-rounder, after leaving England, is in managed isolation due to coronavirus safeguards.
“I didn’t sleep for a week and my head wasn’t really in it,” Ben Stokes told the Weekend Herald. “Leaving [the team] was the right choice from a mental point of view,” he added.
Gerard Stokes, in an interview with the Weekend Herald, revealed that he was diagnosed with the illness in January on his return to Christchurch from South Africa. 64-year-old Gerard was with wife Deb and eldest son James to watch Ben in action against South Africa.
Stokes senior was admitted to hospital ahead of the Boxing Day Test
Stokes senior was admitted to the hospital ahead of the Boing Day Test due to a brain bleed. He required surgery and it was reported as a ‘serious illness’ at that time. After his return to New Zealand, further tests revealed that Gerard had cancer.
“They had to assess how I travelled and from that they discovered I had a couple of tumours on my brain as well,” said Gerard. “So, basically brain cancer. How that came about nobody knows but obviously I’ve had a few bangs on my head through my life so that’s probably contributed to it,” he added.
29-year-old Stokes, currently regarded as one of the best all-rounders of the game, was 12 when he left Christchurch to live in the north of England. His journey eventually landed him up in the England cricket side.
Stokes highlighted that his dad’s illness had given him a new perspective on suffering. Reminiscing his 120-run knock against South Africa in Port Elizabeth, Stokes said that it was hugely emotional to score a few weeks after his dad’s emergency surgery.
Stokes’ century celebration has now become a tradition. He celebrates his tons with a three-finger salute, a tribute to father Gerard, who dislocated a finger during his league days and requested an amputation in order to get back on the field quicker.