Ben Stokes’ father’s body is slowly improving. England’s hope of getting Ben Stokes to the Boxing Day Test is one of the most confident of the team.
Jade Stokes flew with a family to see the boy’s performance in South Africa. There he got seriously ill. Jade was admitted to the hospital on Monday.
Ben Stokes was beside his bedside Tuesday, leaving his father in critical condition. This led to uncertainty over the English all-rounder’s game in the Boxing Day Test beginning Thursday against South Africa. That cloud of uncertainty has faded away as Stokes’ father’s condition improves. So England is hopeful of his return. Ben Stokes is playing to make the English hopeful. Do full practice with the team on the big day.
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The England squad also added to the discomfort with the news of relief. The wicketkeeper-batsman Ole Pope has been in doubt since his illness. He has been suffering from intestinal infections throughout his journey. Can’t practice on big days in sickness. Johnny Bairstow could be a possible replacement for the Pope if he does not play. Pastor Chris Oakes is also on the list. Sick out of the game.
Jack Leach can’t practice today because of chronic bowel problems. He had to be hospitalized at the end of his New Zealand tour. He may be excluded from the Boxing Day Test because he is not fully fit. However, England has not yet announced the Oaks, Pope and Leach are uncertain. But as the situation changes, their fitness problems can put the whole of England into consideration.