Uncertainty looms over Ben Stokes' availability for IPL 2018

Uncertainty looms over Ben Stokes’ availability for IPL 2018

All questions will be answered on February 13, when the court hearing is scheduled.

Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Earlier today, in the IPL 2018 Auctions, England maverick, Ben Stokes yet again proved his lofty standard after going under the hammer as the highest paid overseas player. As Rajasthan Royals procured the services of the England all-rounder for a whopping ₹ 12.5 crore, the cricketing fraternity appeared divided over the franchise’s decision.

The franchise, which returned to the fray after a two-year suspension, went all out to get the England cricketer, who was a star performer for Rising Pune Supergiant last season. Despite all the positives, there looms an air of ambiguity regarding the 26-year-old’s availability for the tournament.

The England star, who was impending charges for a bar brawl in Bristol last year, has now been charged with affray by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Police investigated the incident and sent their findings to the CPS in November. The 26-year-old and two men from Bristol are due to appear before magistrates at a future date. And all questions will be answered on February 13, when the court hearing is scheduled.

However, keeping aside all speculations, the England cricketer took to Twitter to show his excitement.

Royals will have the option to replace Stokes in case the worst happens

Stokes’ legal team has assured the IPL governing council that he will be available for the IPL, which will be held from April 7 to May 27.

Even the Rajasthan Royals officials sounded confident over his availability. “As far as we are concerned, the ECB has cleared him for auction; he’s legally available, therefore we’ve bid for him. He’s a very important part. We are like a start-up company; we’re restarting and pressing the reset button,” Rajasthan Royals chairman and CEO, Ranjit Barthakur was quoted saying.

In case Stokes is not available for the auction, the Royals will have the right to find a replacement. However, a final decision would only be taken depending on the situation.

As of now, both Stokes and Royals would be hoping to get off to a good start in the cash-rich league.