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England in South Africa: Ben Stokes says father’s health more pleasing than series win

England all-rounder Ben Stokes celebrates after dismissing South Africa captain Faf du Plessis

England all-rounder Ben Stokes says his father leaving hospital is “more pleasing than winning the series” in South Africa.

Ged Stokes, 64, spent time in intensive care after being admitted to hospital in Johannesburg on 23 December.

England completed a 3-1 series win with a 191-run victory in Johannesburg.

“Dad is looking like he’s going home at the end of this game. It has put a lot of things in perspective,” man of the series Stokes, 28, told BBC Sport.

“Today has been a brilliant day for the team, and the last couple of days we’ve been given some good news as a family.

“It has been a rollercoaster with everything that has gone on. I hope my old man is in his hospital bed watching this with a big smile on his face.

“I spoke to Dad before the first Test and told him I’m playing the game, and he looked at me with the most stupid face and said ‘obviously you are’.

“After losing a Test it can feel like the worst thing ever but there are a lot more important things to happen.”

Stokes scored 318 runs at an average of 45.42 in the four-Test series, took 10 wickets at 22 apiece and held 12 catches as England claimed only their second overseas series win in four years.

He said discussing his father’s illness with the England backroom staff helped him to cope.

“Being away from home, you go through so many emotions, but when something like that hits you, you can get put into a place that you’re not used to,” Stokes said.

“But in the modern day and age, people aren’t afraid to speak to others, let off a bit of steam and let them know how they feel.

“I only spoke to two people in confidence about what happened, but I’m very pleased I managed to do it because if this happened two or three years ago I probably would have kept it internal and who knows what would have happened.”

England face South Africa in three one-day internationals – for which Stokes has been rested – and two Twenty20s starting on 4 February, before playing two Tests in Sri Lanka in March.

Article courtesy of BBC Sport
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