Ben Stokes ruled out of IPL 2021 with broken finger
In a major blow for Rajasthan Royals, all-rounder Ben Stokes has been ruled out of IPL 2021 after picking up a finger injury. It is understood that he sustained the injury in RR's tournament opener against Punjab Kings on April 12. As per reports, his index finger on the left hand broke while taking a catch to dismiss Chris Gayle in the match.
RR informed about the development on Twitter
Ben Stokes has been ruled out of the IPL following a broken finger in last night's game. 😔— Rajasthan Royals (@rajasthanroyals) April 13, 2021
He will stay with the Royals and support the rest of the group in the upcoming matches. 💗#RoyalsFamily | @benstokes38 pic.twitter.com/WVUIFmPLMJ
Stokes suffered the injury in the 10th over
In the match against Punjab Kings, Stokes bowled the eighth over, but didn't bowl thereafter. He suffered the injury in the 10th over (delivered by Riyan Parag), fielding at long-on. Stokes then came out to open the innings for the Royals, however, he was dismissed by Mohammed Shami in the first over. The Royals eventually lost the match by four runs.
Stokes to stay in India despite the injury
Stokes also missed a number of games for the Royals last season after traveling to New Zealand to be with his ailing father. This time, he will stay with the group in India "to provide his valued support and inputs off the field".
Will Jofra Archer join the team bubble?
The absence of of Stokes is a major setback for the Royals, who are vying for a comeback this season. They are already without Jofra Archer, who is recovering from a hand injury. Although the England pace spearhead has resumed light training, his participation in the IPL remains uncertain. It remains to be seen if he can join the team bubble in India.
No replacement announced as of now
No replacement for Stokes has been announced by the Royals as of now. However, the franchise confirmed they were reviewing potential candidates to replace the England star. The likes of David Miller and Liam Livingstone are the overseas batsmen in the Royals reserves. Livingstone could replace Stokes in the next match as he could also provide with part-time off-spin.