Big Blow For MS Dhoni's CSK, Ben Stokes Will Not Bowl In First Few Matches Of IPL 2023
Stokes' knee issues were aggravated during England's tour of New Zealand last month, resulting in him bowling only nine overs across two Tests and batting through physical discomfort on the final day of the series in Wellington.
Ben Stokes is expected to start the 2023 IPL season as a specialist batter and has received a cortisone injection to manage an injury in his left knee, According to ESPNcricinfo. Despite his recurring knee issues, Stokes was signed for a hefty sum of INR 16.25 crore (approximately US$ 1.9 million at the time) by Chennai Super Kings in an auction. He arrived in India last week and has been training with his new teammates ahead of their season opener in Ahmedabad on Friday, where they will face defending champions Gujarat Titans.
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Ben Stokes So Far__
A Thread Of Clicks!#WhistlePodu pic.twitter.com/GHywSNLoLv — Hustler (@HustlerCSK) March 28, 2023
Stokes' knee issues were aggravated during England's tour of New Zealand last month, resulting in him bowling only nine overs across two Tests and batting through physical discomfort on the final day of the series in Wellington. The all-rounder acknowledged the frustration caused by the injury, but is hopeful that the IPL will provide him with an opportunity to recover and be fully prepared for this summer's Ashes, which begin on June 16. While Stokes declined to reveal the exact diagnosis of his knee issue, it has been reported that a subsequent scan showed no abnormalities, and the cortisone injection is a standard anti-inflammatory treatment aimed at reducing swelling.
"My understanding is he's ready to go as a batsman from the start," Mike Hussey, Super Kings' batting coach, told ESPNcricinfo and PA news. "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."
England coach Brendon McCullum has expressed his confidence in the Chennai Super Kings' medical team and Ben Stokes' ability to recover ahead of crucial moments. McCullum, who was Stokes' former international teammate, has openly stated his faith in the franchise's "very good medical team" and has promised to keep in touch with Stephen Fleming, the head coach of the Chennai Super Kings.
Stokes has previously mentioned that he may return early from the IPL in order to prepare for England's Test against Ireland on June 1st, just four days after the IPL final. He has already spoken to Michael Hussey, the Super Kings' batting coach, about his eagerness to captain England for the first time in the upcoming Ashes series.
"From an Australian perspective, I'm going to hope he bowls 20 or 30 overs in the nets," Hussey said, laughing. "We'll be running him into the ground and I'll be making sure he does extra weight sessions and run-throughs to put as much pressure on that body… I'm joking, obviously. I want a fit Ben Stokes playing his best cricket at the Ashes. This franchise is very professional, works very closely with all the national boards, and I know our physio has already been working with the ECB physios. I want to see his best cricket at the Ashes; I want both teams at their best, going hard at it, and I think it will be an unbelievable series to watch."
Michael Hussey, the batting coach of the Chennai Super Kings, has noted that Ben Stokes has been in great form since arriving in India and has been "hitting the ball really well". He also expressed his belief that Stokes will play a significant role in the franchise's quest to reach the playoffs, especially if he can contribute with his bowling. Hussey emphasized the importance of having all-rounders in the team. With the IPL returning to a full home-and-away season, the Super Kings are set to play their first home game since 2019 on April 3rd.
"The ground is amazing: new stands up, full capacity," Hussey said. "The first home game, the atmosphere is going to be out of this world. I can't wait - and I'm sure Stokesy is going to absolutely love it. That's the thing with those big players, they generally like a big stage and perform their best on it. Once he gets out there in Chepauk Stadium in front of an unbelievably loud crowd, I hope it's going to bring out the best in him."