IPL 2023: Ben Stokes likely to start as specialist batter
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) all-rounder Ben Stokes will likely start his IPL 2023 campaign as a specialist batter. According to an ESPNcricinfo report, Stokes took a cortisone injection to manage an injury to his left knee. Notably, the Super Kings signed him for Rs. 16.25 crore at the player auction. The IPL 2023 opener will see CSK take on Gujarat Giants on March 31.
Why does this story matter?
- Stokes, one of the finest all-rounders, has a proven IPL track record.
- With the Ashes taking place this year, many reckoned the all-rounder might skip IPL due to his knee injury.
- Although the veteran confirmed his participation, he could play as a specialist batter.
- Owing to the knee issue that escalated, Stokes bowled only nine overs on England's tour to New Zealand last month.
A look at his IPL numbers
Stokes has garnered 920 runs in 43 IPL games, striking at a healthy rate of 134.50. The tally includes two fifties and as many centuries. The right-arm pacer has scalped 28 wickets at an economy rate of 8.55. He played for the Rajasthan Royals (RR) between 2018 and 2021. He also served the now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiant, who reached the final in 2017.
Here's why Stokes took the cortisone injection
The ESPNcricinfo report added that Stokes' latest scan on the knee has no signs of risk. However, Stokes has taken a cortisone injection, an anti-inflammatory injection, to reduce swelling. This will help him sail through the 16th IPL edition.
Michael Hussey gives an update
CSK's batting coach Michael Hussey informed that Stokes might have to refrain from bowling initially. "My understanding is he's ready to go as a batsman from the start," Hussey told ESPNcricinfo. He added, "The bowling might be wait and see. I know he had his first very light bowl yesterday [Sunday] since he had his injections in his knee."
Stokes could miss the latter stages
While IPL 2023 will conclude on May 28, England's one-off Test against Ireland will start on June 1. Stokes, hence, will skip the latter stages of IPL. "I'll be making sure that I give myself enough time to play that [Ireland] game. I'll probably get round the individuals and ask them what they want to be ready for the Ashes," he had indicated.
How does this impact CSK's bowling?
Stokes' bowling could have bolstered CSK's pace attack at the start. CSK could miss the services of left-arm seamer Mukesh Choudhary initially (recovering from a back injury). They have already lost NZ's Kyle Jamieson (back injury). However, South Africa pacer Sisanda Magala will join as a replacement. Deepak Chahar will lead the pace attack, which also includes Delhi's Simarjeet Singh and Mumbai's Tushar Deshpande.