England cricketer Ben Stokes has paid tribute to his “brilliant” wife, Clare Ratcliffe, after his efforts to win the third Ashes Test.
The 28-year-old hit an unbeaten 135 to lead the hosts to a barely-believable one-wicket win over Australia.
Stokes told the Daily Mirror: “Clare has been brilliant and so supportive throughout the years. Your family go though everything with you, good and bad, so it is great to be able to celebrate with them at times like this.”
Ms Ratcliffe had arrived at Headingley with the couple’s children, Layton and Libby, the night before Stokes’s historic knock and was excitedly talking to him.
Stokes said: “I was trying to keep things as quiet as possible with what might be to come so I wasn’t exactly the most communicative. And that is the thing for our partners who have to live the ups and downs with us and cope with the various stages we’re at.”
The pair wed at a Somerset church in October 2017, just one month after he was arrested for his role in a melee outside a Bristol nightclub.
He was found not guilty of affray, though he was fined by the England and Wales Cricket Board’s Cricket Discipline Commission.
Having also lost the Test vice-captaincy following the saga – he has since regained it – there was a more mature edge to Stokes on his return. Gone were the rambunctious edges to his game in favour of more control, especially with the bat.
Stokes said he would be spending the break before the fourth Test at Old Trafford with his wife and children.
“I love playing cricket, but you need to be able to get away from the game and that is where your home and your family keep you grounded,” he said.