Ben Stokes' father Ged diagnosed with brain cancer

'I didn't sleep for a week and my head wasn’t really in it' says England all-rounder

CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 29:  English cricketer Ben Stokes (C) is welcomed by his parents Gerard Stokes (R) and Deborah Stokes as he arrives at Christchurch Airport on November 29, 2017 in Christchurch, New Zealand. Stokes flew in from the UK in preparation for the upcoming Ashes series in Australia.  (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)
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Ben Stokes says he “didn’t sleep for a week” during England’s Test series against Pakistan after learning his father Ged had been diagnosed with brain cancer.

Stokes is due to be part of the Rajasthan Royals squad for the IPL, which is set to be played in the UAE from September 19.

His availability remains unclear, though, having been on compassionate leave since earlier this month, when he missed the final two Tests of England’s lockdown series with Pakistan.

In an interview with the New Zealand Herald, Stokes acknowledged his "head wasn't in it" because of his father's news.

He arrived in New Zealand this week to be with his family, where he is in isolation as per the country’s coronavirus protocols.

"I didn't sleep for a week and my head wasn't really in it," Stokes told the New Zealand Herald.

“Leaving [the team] was the right choice from a mental point of view.”

Stokes’ father Ged is also interviewed in the paper. The 64-year-old former rugby league player was diagnosed with the illness after watching his son play for England in South Africa last winter.

He was admitted to hospital over Christmas after suffering a brain bleed, and the cancer was diagnosed when he returned home to New Zealand.

“They had to assess how I travelled and from that they discovered I had a couple of tumours on my brain as well,” Ged Stokes was quoted as saying.

“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.”

Since the winter, Stokes has celebrated his cricket milestones – such as the hundred he made against West Indies in July – with a three-fingered salute.

It references the fact his father has a missing digit, after having a finger he injured playing rugby league amputated.

“His reputation sort of speaks for itself,” Ben Stokes said.

“You speak to anyone who knows him, played with him or worked with him, they'd all say the same thing.

“Most people acquire a softer side with age and sometimes with dad that has been quite weird to see.

“What he's going through has brought that side out as well - we all knew he had it, he just didn't show it that often.”