London [UK], June 2 (ANI): In a heartwarming gesture, England Test Captain Ben Stokes walked out for toss in the first Test against New Zealand at Lord's wearing a jersey bearing the name and Test cap number of former batter and batting coach Graham Thorpe, who is seriously ill and receiving treatment at a hospital.
Stokes also said at the toss that he spoke to his wife and is thankful for the privacy the family has received so far.
"Unfortunately Graham Thorpe is unwell and in the hospital. Spoke to his wife and she was grateful and thankful for the privacy the family has received," said Stokes.
The former batter, currently 52, represented England in 100 tests between 1993-2005, scoring 6,744 runs with an average of 44.66 and 16 tons. The batter was a vital part of the English test team from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s.
After retirement, Thorpe had a brief stint in media, after which he took to coaching. A stint in New South Wales in Sheffield Shield in 2007 followed, after which he joined England's team coaching set-up. He initially joined the side as a batting coach and later worked as an assistant coach to Chris Silverwood. His stint with England ended after he, along with Silverwood and former Director of cricket Ashley Giles was sacked after a 4-0 loss to Australia in the Ashes 2021-22.
Thorpe was recently announced as the new head coach of Afghanistan after involvement in the England coaching set-up for a decade, which came to an end after a 4-0 loss to Australia in The Ashes.
Coming to the match, New Zealand won the toss and opted to bat first. Their innings is currently in progress.
Both sides are playing a three-Test series, with the next Test match set to take place from June 10 and the final one from June 23 onwards. The series is a part of the ICC World Test Championship 2021-23. (ANI)