Ben Stokes was forced to curtail his Indian Premier League campaign due to a broken finger after a diving catch to dismiss Chris Gayle during the Rajasthan Royals’ first game of the campaign. There was nothing to do but return home and undergo surgery, ruling him out for three months. As a result, Stokes is not available for England’s Test series against New Zealand.
Stokes will get a rare opportunity to play for home county Durham in the Vitality Blast. He has another important year ahead of him, so maintaining his fitness is paramount. The 29-year-old will participate in the inaugural Hundred competition along with the return of the IPL later in the calendar year.
The pause in the tournament has offered the all-rounder a chance to return for the Royals’ remaining seven games, where they have a good chance of reaching the post-season. The leading cricket bookmakers and team guides alike, as highlighted on Asiabet.org, are optimistic about their ability to compete in the latter stages of the competition. Therefore, many fans will be of the opinion that there could be value to be had by wagering on the Royals before the IPL resumes, which occur in England at the end of September.
If the competition is played at that point in the calendar, Stokes will be a busy man with exploits for the Northern Superchargers in the Hundred, the Royals in the IPL, rare outings for Durham and his England duties. England face-off against New Zealand and India in Test matches during the summer, while playing Pakistan and Sri Lanka in limited-overs matches. The Three Lions then have the World T20 to play where they will hope to go one better than their last appearance in the competition in 2016.
Stokes more than most will be hoping for redemption after being dispatched for four-straight sixes in the final over by Carlos Brathwaite to lose the contest for England. Despite all of his achievements, playing the decisive roles in England’s win in the 50-over World Cup along with winning the Headingley Test in the 2019 Ashes, Stokes will want to atone for his past grievances.
Winning the World T20 would tick off yet another box for the 29-year-old, although his work would not be done there. In 2017, he missed the Ashes in Australia after being suspended by the ECB following his involvement in a brawl in Cardiff. He only returned as we highlighted at NEConnected.co.uk after a lengthy time out in 2018.
England were soundly beaten 4-0 by the Baggy Greens to lose the urn. Even though Stokes played an incredible innings to secure an astounding victory for England, the 2-2 draw in the 2019 series allowed Australia to retain the Ashes. With Stokes restored to the middle order and with a ball in hand, England have a solid chance of making a better fist of it against the Aussies come the start of the series in November. In 2013, he made his breakout against Australia, and it would be fitting for him to come full circle to play a defining role in an Ashes win as a senior figure.
Stokes will have to be micromanaged to ensure that he remains at his physical peak for the challenges ahead. He is a full-blooded player and will want to play in every game possible, especially after missing time due to his broken finger. However, England have to be careful with how to deploy the all-rounder over the course of the year. They will want Stokes fit and firing for the World T20 along with the Ashes, with the latter earning top priority given their past performances in Australia.
Therefore, he may have to miss limited-overs action against Sri Lanka and Pakistan. His role in the IPL could also come under scrutiny given that the ECB will want their premier talent to be available for the Superchargers in the Hundred. It is going to be a fascinating summer of cricket, leading into the winter to see how England manages their key man. He has shown his importance to the team time and again with both bat and ball and England are going to need him at the peak of his powers to deliver success on all fronts.