Rajasthan Royals unsure about the availability of Ben Stokes in IPL 2020
Stokes hasn't played for England too since pulling out of the Pakistan Test series after the first game.
Updated - Sep 15, 2020 10:18 am
With the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2020) less than a week away, the IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals (RR) is still unsure over the participation of their star all-rounder Ben Stokes in the tournament. Stokes is currently in New Zealand with his family in the tough times as his father is diagnosed with brain cancer.
The England stalwart had left the Pakistan Test series in the middle and had also pulled out his name from the limited-overs series against Pakistan followed by the Australia tour of England to be with his ailing father. Absence of Ben from the England squad has given rise to the speculations of him missing the 2020 edition of the Indian league this season.
Clearing the stand of Rajasthan Royals in this matter, the head coach Andrew McDonald admitted that there is still no clarity over the all-rounder’s availability for the season and the team management is providing him with all the support they can as it is a difficult scenario for his family.
“First and foremost, thoughts with the Stokes family. It’s a difficult scenario, so we are giving him as much time as he needs, and connecting with him as best as we can. So yeah, we are not sure where Stokesy’s right now, but once it has played out, then we can make our decisions from there,” McDonald told ESPNCricinfo.
Absence of Ben Stokes will be a big setback for RR
Rajasthan Royals, who will be starting their IPL campaign with a fixture against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on September 22 in Sharjah, will be on a mission to recreate the magic of 2008 edition, in which they had registered a victory on the T20 Cup, in the 2020 season in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). However, the absence of Stokes from their squad can deeply hurt the middle-order as it will look fragile and exposed.
The team is heavily reliant on its four overseas players namely Steve Smith, Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes as the rest of the players are relatively new and lack in terms of experience. Though the franchise doesn’t have a like-for-like replacement for the England all-rounder, they can consider playing David Miller or Tom Curran in the lower-middle order.