Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will face the IPL playoffs without the services of all-rounder Ben Stokes. The four-time champions, who are on the verge of qualifying for the knockouts, require a positive result in their final game against the Delhi Capitals. Stokes will reportedly travel back to the UK to prepare for the upcoming Test series between England and Ireland, as well as the highly anticipated Ashes series.
According to ESPN Cricinfo, Stokes will return home after CSK’s clash against the Delhi Capitals at the Arun Jaitley Stadium. The match is scheduled for Saturday, May 20. While it is unlikely that the England captain will feature in the game, he will depart, making himself unavailable for the playoffs.
Stokes had previously expressed his intention to leave the IPL early, even before joining the Super Kings, in order to participate in the England vs. Ireland one-off Test, which is set to begin on June 1. This match is expected to serve as preparation for the Ashes series, with Stokes likely to lead the England squad.
During this IPL season, Stokes has only played two matches, scoring 7 and 8 runs respectively after being signed for a hefty sum of Rs 16.25 crore. He also bowled just one over, conceding 18 runs. Unfortunately, the England Test skipper suffered a toe injury and faced “another setback,” which kept him out of action. However, he has resumed training and has been available for selection over the past week.
Despite his return to training, Stokes’ availability as a bowler remains uncertain. The 31-year-old has been struggling with a knee issue, which has limited his bowling workload. CSK coach Stephen Fleming revealed that Stokes was providing batting cover, but with Devon Conway’s impressive form, it is unlikely that Stokes will make the final cut for the playing XI.
As CSK prepares for the crucial playoff stage of the IPL, they will undoubtedly miss Stokes’ dynamic contributions both with the bat and ball. His absence will create an opportunity for other players to step up and fill the void left by his departure.