Ben Stokes has revealed he has returned to cricketing action in the Indian Premier League with the blessing of his family after spending time in New Zealand to be with his ailing father.
Stokes' father, Ged, was diagnosed with brain cancer forcing the England all-rounder to miss several fixtures of his team's international summer.
Stokes, who captained England in the first Test against West Indies that marked international cricket's return post-coronavirus shutdown, is currently in quarantine ahead of linking up with the Rajasthan Royals squad for the remainder of their tournament campaign.
The Steve Smith-led Royals have played five games already, witnessing two triumphs and three defeats and would be buoyed by the inclusion of Stokes for the rest of the matches.
“Sitting in a hotel room in quarantine once again after leaving New Zealand is not how I thought I would be arriving at the IPL, but here I am and all things considered, I’m in a good place,” Stokes wrote in a column for British newspaper The Mirror.
“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.”
Stokes' five-week break from the sport was involved in caring for his ill father in Christchurch. The 29-year-old claimed he was convinced to engage in his IPL stint by Ged, who encouraged him to get back to playing.
“My dad was 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,” he added.
“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.”
Stokes did not have a hugely impressive IPL last year but continues to be one of the top performers in world cricket with a horde of achievements to his name.