BEN STOKES has rushed to be by his father Ged's side after he was taken to hospital in a critical condition.
The ECB revealed the World Cup and Ashes cricketing hero will be excused from playing duties to spend time with his family, with the former rugby player seriously ill.
Stokes' father, a ex-professional rugby star, follows his son's career closely and had flown to watch him in action in South Africa from the family home in New Zealand.
Ged, 64, was taken ill last night and rushed to hospital near England's base in Sandton near Johannesburg.
An ECB statement read: " Ben Stokes's father, Ged, was admitted to hospital on Monday in Johannesburg after suffering a serious illness. He remains in a critical condition.
"The all-rounder will not be at England's training session at SuperSport Park this afternoon so that he can be at his father's bedside.
"The England and Wales Cricket Board, with the support of Ben and his family, request that the media and public respect Ben and his family's privacy at this time."
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Newly-crowned Sports Personality of the Year Stokes has had the best year of his career after winning the Cricket World Cup in thrilling fashion in July, after a nail-biting extra over.
But that was arguably topped by his one-man heroics during the Third Ashes Test as Stokes' unbeaten 135 helped England chase a record 359 target at Headingley against the Aussies.
It was an incredible turnaround, nearly two years after the all-rounder was charged with affray for a brawl outside a Bristol nightclub that saw him miss the 2017-18 Ashes.