Ben Stokes will miss England’s last two Tests against Pakistan “for family reasons”, the England and Wales Cricket Board has announced. Stokes has played all four Tests so far this summer, captaining his country for the first time in Joe Root’s absence in the series opener against the West Indies, but will now fly to New Zealand later this week. He took part in a rousing three-wicket win over Pakistan that concluded on Saturday but subsequently informed the squad that he needs to return to his family home in Christchurch, where father Ged and mother Deb are based.
The precise reasons for his departure have not been made public, with the England and Wales Cricket Board requesting respect for his privacy.
The Stokes family had a tough time over Christmas, with Ged rushed to hospital in Johannesburg on the eve of the Boxing Day Test against South Africa.
Stokes spent a considerable amount of time at the bedside but was encouraged by his father to play a full part in that game and the 3-1 series win that followed.
He later posted a picture of his father leaving hospital after 37 days and three operations praising him as “strong and stubborn”.
A statement from the ECB read: “England all-rounder Ben Stokes will miss the remainder of the #raisethebat Test series against Pakistan for family reasons. “Stokes will leave the UK later this week and travel to New Zealand.
"He will miss England’s two Test matches against Pakistan at the Ageas Bowl on Thursday, August 13, and Friday, August 21. “The England and Wales Cricket Board, along with the Stokes family, requests that all media respects the family’s privacy at this time.”
The England squad were due to leave Manchester, site of their three-wicket win over Pakistan in the first Test, and head to Southampton on Sunday. The second Test will begin on Thursday at the Ageas Bowl, with Sussex bowler Ollie Robinson linking up with the side.