England’s Ben Stokes poised for IPL return with ‘parents’ blessing’

Ben Stokes has revealed he has returned to cricket with his family’s blessing.

The England all-rounder travelled to New Zealand in August to be with his father Ged, who has brain cancer.

He is now in Dubai to join IPL side Rajasthan Royals and, after self-isolating, could return against Sunrisers Hyderabad on October 11.

In his column for the Daily Mirror, the 29-year-old wrote: “Saying goodbye to my dad, my mum and my brother in Christchurch was tough. It has been a difficult time for us as a family, but we’ve pulled together and supported each other as best we can.

“And I was able to get on the plane with my parents’ love and blessing after we reached the decision, for me to get back playing, as a family with no external influences.

“I didn’t know what dad wanted, I didn’t know what mum wanted so to start that conversation off was the hardest thing of all.

“And then mum made it simple, she said: “The time you are spending here now with your dad is so much more important than the time you will spend when the worst happens.

“My dad was also very strong on the responsibilities I have. He told me I have a duty to do the job that I do and I have a duty as a husband and father as well.

“We gave it all a lot of thought and talked it over at length, and we came to a decision that now sees me back focusing on the game and then I’ll be heading home to Clare and the kids.

“When I was there I was able to leave cricket behind completely for five weeks. I would just wake up and be useful. That meant looking after dad when mum went to work.

“We got into a nice routine. I would sit with dad for a bit, watch some TV and then I’d take him out to his favourite coffee shop in Barrington Mall.”