Ben Stokes to start IPL season as specialist batter after knee injection
Ben Stokes is set to start the new Indian Premier League (IPL) season as a specialist batter, after having a cortisone injection to manage an ongoing issue with his left knee.
Stokes struggled with the problem throughout England’s recent Test series draw in New Zealand and bowled just two overs during the one-run defeat in Wellington.
Despite the problem, Stokes immediately confirmed his intention to travel to India for the IPL, where he will play for Chennai Super Kings after being signed for around £1.6million at December’s auction.
Chennai open the tournament against Gujarat Titans in Ahmedabad on Friday and men’s Test coach Brendon McCullum has said he is confident the franchise will manage Stokes’ workload appropriately ahead of this summer’s Ashes.
"He's ready to go as a batsman from the start,” Chennai batting coach Mike Hussey told PA and ESPNCricInfo. "The bowling might be wait and see. I know he had his first very light bowl this week since he had his injections in his knee.
“My understanding is he won't be bowling much at all in the first few games of the tournament, or it might be a few weeks, I'm not 100 per cent sure. But hopefully we'll get him bowling at some stage in the tournament.”
The IPL final is due to take place just four days before England start their Test summer against Ireland at Lord’s on June 1 but Stokes has already said he will likely leave the tournament early to allow himself sufficient preparation time at home.