England have been dealt a major blow with all-rounder Ben Stokes to miss the rest of the Test series against Pakistan for family reasons.
Stokes, who only made nine runs and bowled four overs, albeit taking two wickets, in the First Test, will travel to New Zealand to be with his family.
The English vice-captain was born in Christchurch in New Zealand’s South Island where his parents are still based.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) did not reveal the precise reasons for Stokes’ departure, requesting a respect for his privacy at this time.
An ECB statement from the ECB read: England all-rounder Ben Stokes will miss the remainder of the 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 familys privacy at this time.
From a cricket perspective, Stokes’ absence leaves a major hole for the remainder of the series, where England came close to losing the First Test, only getting past Pakistan by three wickets thanks to a fine partnership from Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes.
Buttler had been under pressure to retain his spot before his match-winning knock, but the wicketkeeper-batsman could be moved up the order into a specialist batting role, with gloveman Ben Foakes drafted in for Stokes.
However, England may opt to add another batsman given Stokes’ already limited bowling capacity, with Zak Crawley the most likely addition.
England are expected to rotate their bowlers, which may create a dilemma given Woakes’ all-round ability, while Jimmy Anderson only took one wicket in the First Test.