England captain Ben Stokes is donating his match fees from their three Tests against hosts Pakistan to help victims of devastating floods in the country, the 31-year-old said in a statement on Monday. Millions of people in Pakistan have been affected by severe flooding in recent months, with officials in the Asian country estimating more than $40 billion in damage from torrential monsoon rains that have killed more than 1,000 people.
“Coming back here after 17 years as a Test side is very exciting. There’s a sense of responsibility between the playing and support group and it’s special to be here,” Stokes said. “The floods that ravaged Pakistan this year were very sad to see and had a significant impact on the country and the people. “The game has given me a lot in my life and I feel it is only right to give back to something that goes way beyond cricket. I am donating my match fees from this Test series to the Pakistan Flood Appeal.”
The first Test begins in Rawalpindi on Thursday and England will be without fast bowler Mark Wood, who is recovering from a hip injury that ruled him out of the World Twenty20 semi-final and final in Australia this month. “Unfortunately, Mark will not make the first Test squad due to injury,” head coach Brendon McCullum said. “We expect him to be ready for the second Test, otherwise we have a full squad to choose from.”