Ben Stokes opts out of IPL 2024 to focus on fitness

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Ben Stokes

Ben Stokes, the England allrounder and Chennai Super Kings star, has decided to skip the upcoming IPL 2024 season to manage his workload and fitness. The franchise announced on their website that they were “supportive of Ben in his decision”. The IPL has given the franchises until Sunday, November 26, to announce their retentions and releases for the 2024 season. If Super Kings do not release Stokes, they will have the option of retaining him for the mega auction for IPL 2025. And if they release him by Sunday, Super Kings can use the INR 16.25 crore they had paid for him in the auction next month.

Super Kings, however, have not revealed if they will release Stokes. The allrounder had disclosed that he would undergo knee surgery, a step he had been postponing for a while, after the World Cup. His rehab and recovery will determine when he will return to action.

Ben Stokes, who was Super Kings’ most expensive buy ever in the auction before the 2023 IPL season for INR 16.25 crore (US$ 1.98 million approx. at the time), played only two games in the season, scoring 15 runs and bowling just one over. This was partly due to the left-knee injury, which had made him start the season as a specialist batter. The knee injury is an old one, but had worsened during England’s tour of New Zealand in February this year. Stephen Fleming, the Super Kings coach, had said then that the team would wait for Stokes to be “100% ready” before asking him to bowl.

More recently, Ben Stokes came out of ODI retirement to play the World Cup in India, and was one of England’s best batters in the tournament, even as the team had a terrible run. Stokes played six of England’s nine games after missing the first three with a hip niggle, but finished as their second-highest run-scorer behind Dawid Malan. Stokes, who did not bowl at all at the World Cup, scored 304 runs in his six innings including two fifties and a hundred, ending with a scoring sequence of 64 (vs Australia), 108 (vs Netherlands) and 84 (vs Pakistan). He averaged 50.66 and struck at 89.14.

As of now, Ben Stokes, the England Test captain, is hopeful of touring India for the five-Test series, which will run from January 25 to March 11.

“I’ve put a lot of hard work in away from cricket to give myself the best chance of a quicker recovery and, with Christmas and everything coming up, the main thing for me is getting this knee right and being ready and raring to go for that Test series in India,” Stokes had said after England’s last game at the World Cup.

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