The worries in the pace bowling department continue to compound for the Chennai Super Kings. After the injuries to Kyle Jamieson and Mukesh Choudhary, star all-rounder Ben Stokes will be playing the initial matches as a specialist batter as he’s been advised not to bowl due to his knee injury.
Ben Stokes was bought for INR 16.25 crore by CSK in IPL 2023 mini-auction
After arriving in Chennai last week, Ben Stokes has started his training but has mostly been batting in the nets and hasn’t bowled at his full tilt.
He has been dealing with his knee injury issue for the past few years, but the injury flared up during the New Zealand Test series, in which he bowled only 9 overs across 2 Tests and batted with clear discomfort in his knee.
CSK’s batting coach Mike Hussey has confirmed that English All Rounder will play the role of a specialist batter in the initial games, and that CSK’s physios are in touch with the ECB medical team, who will monitor the workload of the England Test captain during the Indian Premier League 2023 keeping in mind the Ireland Test and the all-important Ashes series that follow the IPL.
“My understanding is he’s ready to go as a batsman from the start,” Mike Hussey told ESPNcricinfo. “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.
“The physios from Chennai and the ECB are working pretty closely together. My understanding is he won’t be bowling much at all in the first few games of the tournament… it might be a few weeks. I’m not 100% sure, [but we will] hopefully get him bowling at some stage in the tournament.”
He returns to the IPL after missing IPL 2021 due to workload management upon becoming the new England Test skipper. He retired from ODI format last year.
Ben Stokes likely to leave early from the IPL, might miss playoffs and final
Even before arriving in India, Ben Stokes had indicated that he is likely to leave early to prepare for the Ireland Test, which is scheduled for just 3 days after the IPL final, and the following Ashes series.
“Yes, I’ll play,” Stokes had answered when asked if he will play the Ireland Test. “I’ll be making sure that I give myself enough time to get back and play that [Ireland] game.”
CSK will kick-start their Indian League 2023 campaign on March 31 in the tournament opener against Gujarat Titans in Ahmedabad.
CSK squad for IPL 2023:
MS Dhoni (capt & wk), Mooen Ali, Bhagath Varma, Deepak Chahar, Devon Conway (wk), Tushar Deshpande, Shivam Dube, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Ravindra Jadeja, Sisanda Magala, Ajay Mandal, Mukesh Choudhary, Matheesha Pathirana, Dwaine Pretorius, Ajinkya Rahane, Shaik Rasheed, Ambati Rayudu, Mitchell Santner, Subhranshu Senapati, Simarjeet Singh, Nishant Sindhu, Prashant Solanki, Ben Stokes, Maheesh Theekshana