Rajasthan Royals may have suffered a huge blow even before the IPL has started. The franchise is “not sure” about star player Ben Stokes’ availability.
Stokes is currently one of the best all-rounders across all three formats in the world. He was an important piece of the puzzle for the Royals’ side, who were going through a sort of reinvention this season. He was in sublime form throughout the 2019 Cricket World Cup and was instrumental in the famous Ashes win as well.
However, Stokes pulled out of the three test match series against Pakistan before the second test. He’s going through a tough phase as his father is diagnosed with brain cancer. Royals’ coach Andrew MacDonald is, therefore, not sure about his availability.
MacDonald’s statement on Stokes’ unavailability
“First and foremost, thoughts with the Stokes family. It’s a difficult scenario, so we’re giving him as much time as he needs, and connecting with him as best we can,” McDonald was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
“So yeah, we’re not sure where Stokesy’s at right now, but once it has played out, then we can make our decisions from there. But I don’t want to second-guess what will happen with him just yet.”
Stokes’ absence is definitely a matter of concern, however, MacDonald believes the franchise has more interesting options, especially left-handers, for their playing eleven. He claimed young guns like Yashasvi Jaiswal and Anuj Rawat can handle top and middle-order respectively. Also, the dangerous David Miller gives the team much-needed experience and firepower.
“We’ve added some depth in terms of our left-hand batting, in particular in (Anuj) Rawat and (Yashashvi) Jaiswal among the home-grown players, so we think we’ve got some options there.”
Royals can also take the situation as a blessing in disguise by making way for one of their foreign bowlers. They have access to T20 specialist bowlers like Tom Curran, Andrew Tye and Oshane Thomas who will assist Jofra Archer and Jaydev Unadkat to make their bowling even more formidable.
Do check out: