Stokes: I'd swap all of my 2019 achievements for Dad to be happy and healthy

Cumbria's Ben Stokes has said he would swap all of his achievements in cricket in 2019 for his father's good health.

Ged Stokes, 64, who played and coached for Workington Town, spent Christmas in a South African hospital. He became ill days after arriving in the country to watch his son play in the four-Test series.

His ill health led to his Stokes missing training with England during the ongoing tour of South Africa. Ged has recently been released from intensive care.

"At the end of the most memorable of years I am finding it quite hard to sumup 2019 right now," Stokes wrote in his column for the Daily 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 thissummer, but your dad is happy, healthy and watching you play cricket', then I'd say, 'Yeah, swap it'.

"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."

Stokes thanked the doctors who have treated his father, and added: "If thereis a positive to take it is that we were all together to get through it as afamily.

"The idea was for the family to spend Christmas together because we hadn'tdone that for seven years.

"It might have been in a hospital room but we were all together on ChristmasDay, and now we're just glad that he is making progress."

Ben Stokes of England during between South Africa A and England. Credit: PA

England lost the opening Test by 107 runs in Centurion after a number ofplayers suffered with illness during the build up.

"We've nicknamed it 'The Cursed Tour' so far because it wasn't a great timefor us in terms of trying to build up to an important Test series," Stokeswrote.

"We've had the illnesses moving through the camp and then for me personally with my dad and all the worry that came with it, it was less than ideal preparation for trying to perform at the highest level.

"It was the dodgiest changing room I've ever been in and at one stage duringthe first Test I thought we were going to have to get an emergency order oftoilet paper in Centurion, it was that bad.

"But there was no complaining, guys just got on with it and went intoquarantine where necessary."

The 28-year-old all-rounder was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year in December.

Stokes was awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours list after playing a crucial role in England's World Cup victory before scoring a remarkable match-winning Ashes century against Australia at Headingley.

The second Test against South Africa starts in Cape Town on Friday.