IPL 2020: Ben Stokes set to join Rajasthan Royals
England all-rounder Ben Stokes is set to join Rajasthan Royals after missing the first two weeks of IPL 2020. The Rajasthan Royals, on Saturday, tweeted a picture of Stokes, who will arrive in the UAE on Sunday. Notably, Stokes had pulled out midway through the Pakistan Test series to be with his father, who has been diagnosed with brain cancer.
As per the IPL rules related to the COVID-19 protocols, Stokes will have to undergo six days of quarantine upon his arrival in the UAE. He will then be officially available for Rajasthan Royals' match against Sunrisers Hyderabad on October 11. However, the franchise may not include him in the XI and play him in the following game against DC on October 14.
England all-rounder Stokes hasn't competed in competitive cricket since August. Previously, he emerged as the leading run-scorer of Windies Test series. Ahead of the second Test against Pakistan, he travelled to New Zealand, where his parents reside presently. Stokes' father Ged, a former New Zealand rugby league international, was admitted to hospital in Johannesburg, two days before Christmas last year with a serious illness.
The Royals are yet to comment on Stokes joining the squad. Although the franchise may have dropped hints of him arriving him in UAE, they would like to give him a breathing space. "It's a difficult scenario, so we're giving him as much time as he needs, and connecting with him as best we can," Royals head coach Andrew McDonald had earlier told ESPNcricinfo.
So far, the RR have won two out of the three matches in the ongoing season. However, both the victories came at the Sharjah Cricket Ground. They lost the previous one to Kolkata Knight Riders in Dubai. Nevertheless, Stokes' inclusion will bolster RR's middle-order which lacks the required experience. His compatriot Tom Curran is expected to make way for Stokes as the tournament progresses.