IPL 2021: 5 Players who can replace Ben Stokes in the UAE Leg

Stokes is currently on an indefinite break and it is still not clear if he will take part in the second leg of IPL 2021.

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Ben Stokes

Ben Stokes. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Ben Stokes is arguably one of the greatest players of our generation. If is safe to call him a one man army. Over the years, he has won a lot of matches for England as well as the Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Recently, the English all-rounder withdrew from his side’s five-match Test series against India and announced that he would be taking an indefinite break from all cricket to focus on his mental well-being. ECB said that they fully support Stokes in his decision and will provide any help he needs during this period.

This means that there’s a huge chance that Stokes would also miss the second half of IPL 2021 which is all set to take place in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Besides, the ECB would want him fully fresh and fit for the T20 World Cup.

Today we shall be taking a look at 5 players who can replace Ben Stokes in IPL 2021 UAE Leg:

1) Alex Hales

Alex Hales
Alex Hales. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Alex Hales is an absolute match winner in the shortest format of the game. Time and again, he has proved that his abilities are as good as any world class batter out there. The English opener might just be a perfect replacement for Ben Stokes.

Hales has played 60 T20I games and has scored 1644 runs. His T20I batting average and strike rate are 31.02 and 136.66 respectively. Despite not playing international cricket for over 2 years, he has been superb in various T20 leagues across the globe.

The hard hitter even played a handful of IPL games for the Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2018. As Stokes would have opened the innings for RR, Hales can play the same role. Opposition teams would be scared to even imagine him and Buttler at the top!

2) Colin De Grandhomme

Colin de Grandhomme
Colin de Grandhomme. (Photo: IANS)

It is safe to say that Colin De Grandhomme is one of the most under-rated all-rounders going around right now. He can not only hit the big shots with the bat but can also contain runs with the ball. CDG would be a like to like replacement for Stokes.

An important point to be noted is the fact that Stokes doesn’t really have a really good record as a middle order batsman in the IPL. As RR already have a lot of top order batsmen, they might as well replace Stokes with De Grandhomme and make him bat in the middle order. This would help the likes of Riyan Parag and Shivam Dube with another experienced player around them.

The Kiwi all-rounder has played 36 T20I games and has scored 485 runs. His batting average and strike rate in this format are 17.96 and 142.65 respectively. He has also picked 11 wickets in 19 T20I innings at an average and strike rate of 40.45 and 27.18 respectively. He has also played 25 IPL games scoring 303 runs with the bat as well as 6 wickets with the ball.

3) Wanindu Hasaranga

Wanindu Hasaranga bowling
Wanindu Hasaranga bowling. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Wanindu Hasaranga has become a sensation. You wouldn’t find too many cricket experts who aren’t impressed by his skills. He is a valuable asset in the shortest format of the game. He was superb in the recently concluded series between India and Sri Lanka as he went on to win the “Player of The Series” award in the T20Is.

Considering the fact that the second phase of IPL 2021 is going to be held in the UAE, a leggie who can pick wickets in regular intervals as well as bat a bit is nothing but “Gold” for any captain. As RR have many batsmen they wouldn’t rule out the option of picking a bowling all-rounder like Hasaranga.

The Sri Lankan all-rounder has played 21 T20I matches and picked 33 T20I wickets. His bowling average and strike rate in this format are 14.45 and 13.21 respectively. His economy rate is superb as well (6.56).

4) D’Arcy Short

D'Arcy Short
D’Arcy Short of Trent Rockets. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Despite all his shortcomings, Australia‘s D’Arcy Short still remains a match winner in T20s. Although he has been inconsistent in international cricket, his abilities in the shortest form of the game make him a worthy replacement for RR. Besides, after his mediocre stint with RR in 2018, he’d like to set things right this time around.

A batting all-rounder who can go all guns blazing from ball one and bowl some wrist spin isn’t really a bad idea. His bowling would suit the conditions in UAE. The Aussie all-rounder has played 23 T20I games and has scored 642 runs.

His batting average and strike rate are 30.57 and 118.89 respectively. He has also picked 3 wickets in 9 T20I games and has a miserly economy rate of 7.95. Taking his BBL form into account, he can definitely be given another chance in the toughest T20 league in the world.

5) David Willey

David Willey
David Willey. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

David Willey has been one of England‘s best new ball bowlers for a long time. Despite not playing regularly for England, he has done well whenever given an opportunity. Since there are a lot of England players in the team, seeing the English new ball bowler in the RR jersey might just be a possibility.

While Stokes is a batting all-rounder, Willey is no mug with the bat. He is batting superbly in The Hundred as well. As RR lack a responsible lower middle order batsman, the English bowling all-rounder might just be able to fulfill that role.

The former Chennai Super Kings (CSK) player has played 32 T20Is and picked 38 wickets. His bowling average and strike rate in this format are 22.47 and 16.87 respectively. He has also scored 182 T20I runs at an average and strike rate of 14.00 and 132.85 respectively.

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