Ben Stokes has been an integral part of the Rajasthan Royals (RR) since 2018 ever since he moved from the now defunct Rising Pune Supergiant. However, the England all-rounder hasn’t played a single game in the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). In fact, he hasn’t played any form cricket after England’s opening Test against Pakistan in Manchester back in August.
The 29-year-old travelled all the way to Christchurch to attend his ailing father, Ged, who’s diagnosed with brain cancer back in January. Earlier, reports suggested that Stokes would be joining the Royals in the first week of October. The 29-year-old also posted pictures where he can be seen training his heart out in Christchurch, fuelling reports of his comeback.
Ben Stokes would play a part this year, says Warne
In the meantime, former Australian cricketer Shane Warne, who’s back with the Royals in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has backed Stokes to play a major role for the franchise in the upcoming games. The spin wizard said that Ben’s addition to the eleven will only bolster RR’s lineup.
“Hopefully, Ben Stokes would play a part this year, he’s a big loss and our thoughts are with him, but you know, add Ben to the team that played the other night and it looks a very very good side,” Warne was quoted as saying in an interview, reported by Hindustan Times.
Upon returning, Stokes would have to undergo a quarantine of six days and return two negative COVID-19 tests after which he could join RR’s bio-secure bubble. In Stokes’ absence, the Royals have preferred Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Jofra Archer and David Miller in their eleven as their overseas picks with Steve Smith being their skipper.
The Royals started the IPL with a couple of thumping wins against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in Sharjah. But they got a reality check in Dubai after the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) beat them by 37 runs. Curran scored 54 and Archer got two wickets, but their efforts went in vain. RR are next set to lock horns with Royal Challengers Bangalore (RR) on Saturday.