STU FORSTER/GETTY IMAGES
Ben Stokes’s hand gesture after the win in Cape Town was a tribute to his ill father, Ged.
England cricket star Ben Stokes has revealed his ill father Gerard faces a long recovery process but insists the “hard as nails” former Kiwis rugby league international is up for the fight.
Stokes took to social media to provide the latest update on his father’s condition while posting a heartfelt thanks to the many people who sent messages of support.
Christchurch-based Stokes Snr, known as Ged, was in South Africa to watch his son play when he suffered a “sudden illness” two days before Christmas. He was admitted to intensive care but has since been stabilised.
“It has been a very tough few weeks for us all with what has happened to my father Ged,” Stokes wrote on Instagram. “He continues to improve day by day but it’s going to be a slow process for him but he’s hard as nails and doesn’t like to give in.
“This is to every single person who has taken time to send such lovely messages on social media..every person who has said that my dad is in their prayers…every person who has offered support in different ways. We are so so so grateful.”
With his father in a Johannesburg hospital, Stokes went on to produce a match-winning performance in the second-test against South Africa last week as England levelled the series with a thrilling 189-run victory.
The 28-year-old New Zealand-born all-rounder also posted a picture explaining the hand gesture he used after the win in Cape Town, which was inspired by the incredible toughness his father displayed during his league career.
“Ben Stokes hand gesture after England’s Cape Town win was a tribute to his father Ged,” the post said. “During his rugby league career, Ged had to amputate part of his middle finger after an injury to continue playing, because he couldn’t afford surgery.
Ged was a hard-nosed front-row forward who played four tour games (but no tests) for the Kiwis in 1982 before turning to coaching.