Veteran commentator Aakash Chopra said that Chennai Super Kings (CSK) understood they have no place for Ben Stokes in their team even when the veteran all-rounder was available for selection after recovering from injury as well. CSK bought Stokes for a whopping ₹16.25 crore at the IPL 2023 auction as well. However, the England Test captain didn’t play due to knee and toe injuries after just two matches in the 16th edition of the Indian Premier League as well.
In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra said: “You bought Ben Stokes for 16-odd crores; he was extremely expensive, but what happened after that – you got him to bat at No. 3, and then he got injured. When he was supposed to come back after injury, you realised that he doesn’t fit in your scheme of things. Devon Conway will bat at the top, Moeen Ali in the middle because he is an all-rounder, and then you will have to pick Maheesh Theekshana because you don’t have a spinner other than Jaddu (Ravindra Jadeja) as Moeen Ali doesn’t bowl much.”
Aakash Chopra further added that CSK had no option but to play an overseas pace bowler as well. However, Stokes could have replaced Moeen Ali in the CSK XI if he was fully fit and available as well. However, the pace-bowling all-rounder might have had to bat in the lower-middle order, considering that they have Ajinkya Rahane and Shivam Dube who have done quite well up the order.
“You had death-bowling problems right from the start. It’s not that if Deepak Chahar hadn’t become unfit, Deepak Chahar could have been your death bowler alongside Tushar Deshpande. It wouldn’t have worked out with both of them. So you had to play Matheesha Pathirana or one of Dwaine Pretorius and Sisanda Magala,” he again shared.
However, Ben Stokes returned to England ahead of the playoffs. Aakash Chopra also applauded CSK for prioritising winning the trophy ahead of giving a place to their big-ticket player in the playing XI as well. Notably, Stokes managed only 15 runs in the two innings he played in IPL 2023 and also gave away 18 runs in the solitary over he bowled as well.
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“If you see Ben Stokes’ purchase in isolation, he is a very good player, but when you try to fit him into the team, you feel that this did not work out properly.”Chennai goes with a very clear thought in such situations. They don’t need Ben Stokes. Let the money go waste, but the important thing is to lift the trophy, and they did that,” Aakash Chopra concluded.