BEN STOKES will miss England’s final two Tests against Pakistan as he prepares to travel to New Zealand to be with his family.

Stokes has played a full part in England’s red-ball team this summer, captaining his country for the first time in the series opener against West Indies, scoring important runs and taking wickets while battling a thigh injury.

The Durham all-rounder took part in a rousing three-wicket win over Pakistan that concluded on Saturday but subsequently informed the squad that he needs to return to his family home in Christchurch, where father Ged and mother Deb are based.

The precise reasons for his departure have not been made public, with the England and Wales Cricket Board requesting respect for his privacy. The Stokes family had a tough time over Christmas, with Ged rushed to hospital in Johannesburg on the eve of England’s Boxing Day Test against South Africa.

Stokes was encouraged by his father to play a full part in that game and the 3-1 series win that followed but spent regular time at his bedside when England returned for the fourth Test at the Wanderers.

He later posted a picture of his father leaving hospital after 37 days and three operations praising him as “strong and stubborn”.

A statement from the ECB read: “England all-rounder Ben Stokes will miss the remainder of the #raisethebat Test series against Pakistan for family reasons. Stokes will leave the UK later this week and travel to New Zealand.

“The England and Wales Cricket Board, along with the Stokes family, requests that all media respects the family’s privacy at this time.”

England will give their full support to Stokes, a leader on and off the field not to mention a source of great inspiration following his heroics over the last 18 months.