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England Cricket chief backs Ben Stokes in family story row

by Saurabh Sharma Sep 18, 2019 • 12:00 PM

London, Sep 18: England all-rounder Ben Stokes, who has been made to revive the past horrors and traumatic events about his family after an English daily published ran a story, has found support from the country's cricket board.

Stokes, who was England's hero in World Cup 2019 which they won in dramatic fashion, on Tuesday slammed the daily for publishing details about his personal life and family. The 28-year-old said the newspaper article, which has "serious inaccuracies", deals with deeply personal and traumatic events that affected his New Zealand-based family more than 30 years ago.

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England and Wales Cricket (ECB) Chief Executive Tom Harrison has now said Stokes has the full support of "the whole sport and the country".

"We, like the wider sporting world, are disgusted and appalled at the actions taken in revealing the tragic events from Ben's past," BBC Sport quoted Harrison as saying in an ECB statement.

"We are saddened that an intrusion of this magnitude was deemed necessary in order to sell newspapers or secure clicks. Ben's exploits at Lord's and Headingley cemented his place in cricket history this summer - we are sure the whole sport, and the country, stands behind him in support.''

Earlier, England and Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford also came out in support of Stokes and tweeted: "Disappointing to see this. Ben Stokes has been huge for sport this summer. He and his family deserve better."

In a statement on Twitter, Stokes said: "The decision to publish these details has grave and lifelong consequences for my mum in particular," he said.

The Durham and England all-rounder added: "To use my name as an excuse to shatter the privacy and private lives of -- in particular -- my parents is utterly disgusting. It is hard to find words that adequately describe such low and despicable behaviour, disguised as journalism."

"I cannot conceive of anything more immoral, heartless or contemptuous to the feelings and circumstances of my family."

"For more than three decades, my family has worked hard to deal with the private trauma inevitably associated with these events and has taken great care to keep private what were deeply personal and traumatic events."

"On Saturday the Sun sent a 'reporter' to my parents' home in New Zealand to question them, out of the blue, on this incredibly upsetting topic. If that wasn't bad enough, the Sun thinks it is acceptable to sensationalise our personal tragedy for their front page. This is the lowest form of journalism, focused only on chasing sales with absolutely no regard for the devastation caused to lives as a consequence. It is totally out of order."

However, a spokesperson for the daily said that the story was told with the co-operation of a family member who supplied details, provided photographs and posed for pictures.

"The Sun has huge admiration for Ben Stokes and we were delighted to celebrate his sporting heroics this summer. He was contacted prior to publication and at no stage did he or his representatives ask us not to publish the story," the spokesperson said.