Ben Stokes insists he will go to India and fulfill a £1.6m IPL deal with Chennai Super Kings, despite being ‘frustrated’ with a left knee injury… as the England captain battles with a problem in the second Test loss to New Zealand
- The England captain insisted that he will try to monitor the condition of his left knee
- Stokes refuses to undergo surgery because it would rule him out for the summer
- He has spoken to the Chennai manager and claims they are “fully aware” of the injury.
Ben Stokes insists he will go to India and fulfill his £1.6m IPL contract with Chennai before this summer’s Ashes, though he admits he is “frustrated” by the condition of his left knee.
The England captain tried to play through the chronic injury but was unable to bowl more than two overs in the dramatic second Test loss against New Zealand and was clearly struggling with the issue and mobility when he batted today.
But Stokes dismissed any suggestion that he should miss the biggest franchise competition in cricket to rest his knee or consider surgery before the biggest Test series of all in June and July.
Instead, he will be looking to manage the condition through the IPL and insists he will contact Chennai manager Stephen Fleming to ensure he does not injure his knee further and jeopardize his chances of leading a transformed England side to the ashes.
“I’m going to go to the IPL,” Stokes said after New Zealand came through one of the most remarkable Tests of all time by defeating England by one run here at Basin Reserve. “I have had conversations with ‘Flem’ and he is fully aware of the situation with my body. It’s a week-to-week case at the moment.
Ben Stokes insists he won’t let injury stop him from fulfilling a £1.6m contract with Chennai
The England captain battled with a left knee injury in the test against New Zealand
Stokes, who previously downplayed the injury, says he knows what the problem is but won’t reveal details about it. Instead, he has admitted his frustration at what must be a crucial time for the injury and says it now prevents him from fulfilling his role of balancing his side as a true all-rounder.
“I’m not going to lie, it’s incredibly frustrating to know that something has prevented me from acting the way I’d like to,” Stokes said. “I have been working hard with the physios and doctors trying to get to a place where I can fulfill my role as I have for the last 10 years.
‘Now I have a four month period to improve before the ashes because I want to appear for the first test in Birmingham and be able to play my role properly. I will do my best to give myself the best chance of not having to worry about it.
For all of Stokes’ determination to take his place with Chennai, his involvement must be such a close concern to ashes. The IPL is a very demanding competition and Stokes already has experience of getting injured while playing in it, having badly broken his finger while playing for Rajasthan Royals in 2021.
But managing director Rob Key takes a phlegmatic approach to involving his best players in the growing number of franchise competitions that are changing the global cricket landscape, reasoning that he has to work with them, not against them.
Key will be relying on Stokes to look after himself to the best of his ability in the competition which begins next month, assured that the captain is more committed than ever to England and the health of Test cricket.
But Key will keep his fingers firmly crossed that Stokes and other top IPL-bound England players such as Jofra Archer and Harry Brook are not harmed as they take advantage of the huge Twenty20 opportunities now available to top cricketers.