Would swap 2019 success for father's health, says Ben Stokes
England all-rounder Ben Stokes has had an incredible 2019 by first playing a blinder in the World Cup Final to win his team the maiden title and then played a heroic knock at Leeds to help England level the Ashes series. He was named as BBC's Sportsman of the Year and was in the form of his life.
However, when Ben Stokes travelled with his team for the tour of South Africa, his father Gerard Stokes also travelled to Johannesburg to see his son play. But unfortunately, he had to be hospitalized due to a serious illness. Although it was serious at the beginning, Stokes' father began to recover well quickly which in the end made him available for selection for the first Test.
"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, swap it," Ben Stokes wrote in his column for The Mirror.
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The tour also saw several England players get sick and suffer due to bugs and change in atmosphere. Stokes believed that this certainly affected England's performance in the first Test which they lost by 107 runs.
"We've nicknamed it 'The Cursed Tour' so far because it wasn't a great time for us in terms of the team trying to build up to an important Test series," said Stokes.
"It will never be an excuse, but I hope people can understand that physically and mentally it was a huge challenge, getting up in the night, not sleeping, not eating. It all has an effect and over the course of a match you really feel it," he concluded.Published 02 Jan 2020, 01:48 IST