England allrounder Ben Stokes has said he would happily swap his stunning 2019 season with good health and happiness for his father Gerard who was recently admitted to a Johannesburg hospital in serious condition.
Gerard’s health has improved since being admitted to intensive care unit in late December following. Stokes’ family was in South Africa to spend time with him on Christmas during which Gerard became seriously ill.
“At the end of the most memorable of years I am finding it quite hard to sum up 2019 right now,” Stokes wrote in his column for The Mirror. “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.”
Stokes’ participation for the Boxing Day Test was in doubt as he skipped a training session to be with his father. “Thankfully where he is now to where he was when he went in has been an unbelievable turnaround, but he’s got a way to go. You think that something like that is never going to happen to you or your family so when it does hit so close to you it is a bit of a jolt,” he wrote.
Several England cricketer have been struck by illness as they went on to lose the first Test to concede a 1-0 lead in the four-match series. The second Test starts from January 3 in Cape Town and Stokes revealed that England have termed their ongoing stint as ‘The Cursed Tour’. “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. The idea was for the family to spend Christmas together because we hadn’t done that for seven years. It might have been in a hospital room but we were all together on Christmas Day, and now we’re just glad that he is making progress,” he said.
Stokes was voted as the BBC Sports Personality of The Year for playing a starring role in England’s maiden ODI World Cup win in July before his jaw-dropping century at Headingley that resulted in his team’s remarkable win over Australia.
“There was even the thought that maybe we could make history again because we had lots of time like we did at Headingley and one big partnership would have made it interesting. This time, it was a bridge too far,” he said.