Ben Stokes. (Photo Source: X(Twitter)
Chennai Super Kings’ (CSK) dynamic all-rounder, Ben Stokes, has opted out of the upcoming season of the IPL (Indian Premier League) to effectively manage his workload and prioritize his fitness. The five-time IPL title-winning franchise, who have expressed support for the English star’s decision, has not confirmed whether they will release him. The deadline for franchises to announce player retentions and releases for the 2024 season is set for Sunday, November 26. If the MS Dhoni-led side decides not to release the Englishman, they can retain him for IPL 2025.
Following the conclusion of the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in India, Stokes disclosed that he will undergo knee surgery, a procedure he had postponed. Given this, the timeline for his return will be determined by his rehabilitation progress, in collaboration with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
Stokes was the most expensive buy in the IPL 2023 auction at INR 16.25 crore (US$ 1.98 million approx. at the time). However, he had a limited impact during the season due to a left knee injury which he sustained in England’s tour of New Zealand in February. Starting the season as a specialist batter, the 32-year-old played only two games, scoring just 15 runs and bowling only one over. Moreover, CSK head coach Stephen Fleming had emphasized that they are ready to wait for Stokes to be fully fit before involving him in bowling duties.
Despite his injury setbacks, Stokes made a notable comeback during the World Cup, having come out of retirement from the ODI format. He emerged as the Jos Buttler-led side’s second-highest run-scorer, having scored 304 runs with two half-centuries and a century in six innings at an average of 50.66. His noteworthy performances included scores of 64 against Australia, 108 versus the Netherlands, and 84 against Pakistan.
“I’ve put a lot of hard work in away from cricket to give myself the best chance of a quicker recovery and, with Christmas and everything coming up, the main thing for me is getting this knee right and being ready and raring to go for that Test series in India,” Stokes had said after England’s last game in the recently concluded ODI World Cup.