Ben Stokes will leave IPL early for Ireland Test and Ashes preparations

Skipper: Ben Stokes  (Getty Images)
Skipper: Ben Stokes (Getty Images)

Ben Stokes has vowed to return from the Indian Premier League in time to lead the entirety of England’s Ashes preparations this summer.

Stokes landed a £1.6million contract with Chennai Super Kings at the IPL auction in December and is set to return to the franchise competition having missed last year’s edition in order to focus on his newly adopted duties as England’s men’s Test captain.

The IPL final, however, is not scheduled to take place until May 28, just four days before the start of England’s Test match against Ireland, the only game Stokes’ side will play before starting their bid to regain the Ashes at Edgbaston on June 16.

“I'll be making sure I give myself enough time to get back and play the Ireland game," Stokes said.

England have recently adopted a more flexible approach to player availability where franchise leagues clash with international fixtures as they look to adapt to an increasingly crowded global schedule.

Joe Root was rested from this year’s ODI tour of South Africa and instead allowed to play in the ILT20 in the UAE ahead of the ongoing New Zealand Test tour, while the likes of Alex Hales and Sam Billings are missing next month’s white-ball series in Bangladesh to play in the Pakistan Super League.

Beyond Stokes, the likes of Jofra Archer, Mark Wood, Harry Brook, Jonny Bairstow and Root could all be involved in the latter stages of the IPL and the skipper says England’s management will work out the best approach on a case-by-case basis. Last summer, New Zealand seamer Trent Boult played in the IPL final before turning out for the Black Caps against England at Lord’s only four days later.

"I think it's a little bit too far ahead to say, but one thing I've got to look at is we've got the Ashes after the Ireland Test, so I'll probably get round the individuals and ask them what they want to be ready for the Ashes," he said.

"Those five games are obviously the big one of the summer and you've got to think about what lads want, but you also have to think about if something was to happen in that game and we lose someone for the Ashes.

"It's just one of those where you have to weigh up the options of what the individual person actually wants out of that week versus do we really need to play that one? Because I'm obviously right in saying that series is bigger than that game against Ireland."