Ben Stokes has spoken of the heartfelt advice he received from dad Ged as he prepares to return to cricket.

The Cumbrian star has been spending time with his family in New Zealand following Ged's brain cancer diagnosis.

Stokes said he valued the precious weeks he was able to spend with Ged and mum Deb in Christchurch.

And he said he is now returning to his job, in the IPL, with his father's blessing.

Writing in his Daily Mirror column, Stokes said: "Saying goodbye to my dad, my mum and my brother in Christchurch was tough. It has been a difficult time for us as a family, but we've pulled together and supported each other as best we can.

"And I was able to get on the plane with my parents' love and blessing after we reached the decision, for me to get back playing, as a family with no external influences.

"When I got out of quarantine in Auckland, the first week was all about seeing dad and catching up with family, but things were up in the air and there was no plan about how things would pan out.

"I didn't know what dad wanted, I didn't know what mum wanted so to start that conversation off was the hardest thing of all.

"And then mum made it simple. She said: 'The time you are spending here now with your dad is so much more important than the time you will spend when the worst happens.'

"That is a tough thing to hear, but when it comes from your mum and your dad is reinforcing that message, then it makes things a lot easier to deal with.

"My dad was also very strong on the responsibilities I have. He told me I have a duty to do the job that I do and I have a duty as a husband and father as well."

Stokes will be playing for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL after his period away from the game.

He said that, after the tournament, he will head home to the UK to be with his wife Clare and their two children.

Stokes said he appreciated the "nice routine" of looking after Ged while Deb was at work, watching TV with him and taking him for coffee.

"It was great getting out, but he gets tired quite easily so we'd head home and relax for a bit and then in the afternoon we'd go to the park across the road and feed the ducks and get some more fresh air," added the England all-rounder, from Cockermouth.

He added that it was "amazing" to see people rally around the family, including a number of Ged's rugby league friends.

Stokes' column can be read here