Test Match Sofa
Giles reveals anguish behind Championship triumph
By Paul Bolton, County News Correspondent
Ashley Giles’s calm demeanour throughout Warwickshire’s County Championship-winning campaign has disguised the off-field anguish suffered by the county’s director of cricket.
Giles’s Norwegian wife Stine is recovering from a course of radiotherapy to treat two brain tumours which were diagnosed earlier this year.
The former England slow left-armer was forced to fly home from the 2007 Ashes tour when his wife was diagnosed with a brain tumour that required surgery and the new tumours were discovered earlier this year while he was away with the England Lions in his role as an England selector.
“I was in Bangladesh when she found out. It was just a routine scan and she kept it quiet for ten days. That’s the true strength of the woman,” Giles said
“She eventually told me three or four days before I was supposed to come back. She said that she couldn’t keep it from me anymore. That’s the biggest fear of any cricketer or anyone who travels in business, being away from home when something happens.
“At that point we didn’t know how bad it was. We knew it was probably similar from the scans she had the first time but we didn’t know what the treatment would be and that stage we didn’t know that there were two tumours.”
Stine is now recuperating after a six-week course of radiotherapy which she had in June and July but will have to wait a little longer to discover whether the treatment, which has left her with unwanted and obvious side effects, has been successful.
”She is going to have to wait a couple of months before they start scanning her. The way they tell if it has been successful is if there is in movement in the size of the tumours,” Giles said.
“She’s having a rough time at the moment. She’s had a significant amount of hair loss and she doesn’t know when or if it’s going to grow back. She’s dealt with the treatment but that’s the constant reminder every day and that’s not easy for anyone let alone for a woman who is very proud of her appearance.”
Giles kept news of his wife’s illness from his players until early June when her treatment was about to start and it became obvious that he would need to take time off from his cricket commitments to accompany Stine to her hospital appointments.
“I sat them down at Durham just before the start of the Twenty20 Cup because I knew that Stine’s treatment was about to start,” he said. “I said: 'Guys, if I am in and out there’s nothing sinister going on, I’m not neglecting you, I’m not going somewhere else. This is why it’s happening and I would appreciate your support'.
“The guys have handled it in different ways. Some don’t mention it, some come up and ask how it’s going. It’s nice to talk about it.”
Giles was determined that his wife’s illness should not distract his players. Their success in winning the Championship for the first time since 2004 and reaching next week’s Clydesdale Bank 40 final against Hampshire suggests that they have retained their focus.
“There has obviously been a lot going on. At the same time I have tried not to let that change my day-to-day behaviour and not have an effect on the team or our preparation,” he added.
“She has been brilliant in the way she has handled what she went through five years ago once again. Fortunately she has not needed an operation again but six weeks of radiotherapy instead.
“She has taken the pressure off me and said: 'You just get on with your work, you have got your job to do, I will get on the train to get home'. She has shown amazing strength and she has always been incredibly supportive.”
After everything they have been through, Warwickshire’s Championship triumph will have given the Giles family - the couple have two children, Anders and Mathilde – cause for celebration.
“It’s certainly been an eventful year but a lot of people are worse off than us. We all work extremely hard and there are those hours when you pull yourself away to come here and you think you should be somewhere else, but we all do that,” Giles said.
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