Ben Stokes: The English all-rounder opted to skip the Pakistan and Australia series in England to be with his family.
With almost 24 hours remaining for the 13th season of the Indian Premier League to begin, all teams are expected to have zeroed in on their playing combination for the opening match of IPL 2020.
Given how the cash-rich league is being played in a different country altogether due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it possesses a significant challenge to all teams for they must have selected their squads according to the conditions in their respective home grounds.
While pitches in the UAE don’t behave very different than how they do in India, T20 scores tend to remain on the lower side in venues such as Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah as compared to the Indian stadiums.
Four new arrivals ✈️
— Rajasthan Royals (@rajasthanroyals) September 17, 2020
Will Ben Stokes be available for RR vs CSK match?
Just when all the players have reached UAE after fulfilling their national duties, England and Rajasthan Royals all-rounder Ben Stokes is still in Christchurch with his family.
Having played the first Test against Pakistan in Manchester, Stokes opted to skip both the remaining series against Pakistan and white-ball series against Australia citing personal reasons.
Stokes, who posted a video of resuming training in Christchurch on his Instagram account, is highly unlikely to take part in Rajasthan’s season opener against Chennai Super Kings on September 22. With no clarity on when he will travel to UAE, it is difficult to guess the number of matches he will miss in IPL 2020 at this point in time.
Considering Stokes’ skills on a cricket field, it can be a daunting task to replace someone of his calibre. While England chose to play an extra bowler in his absence, it would be interesting to see what Royals do to replace Stokes in the initial matches this season.
Royals, who had bought South Africa batsman David Miller in this year’s auction, might be tempted to play him in the middle-order. However, the move will require them to enhance their bowling strength.