The Chennai Super Kings (CSK) all-rounder, Ben Stokes will be flying back to England after CSK’s last league match, scheduled to be played in Delhi on Saturday. Struggling with fitness issues, the England Test skipper has decided to give himself enough time to prepare for the Ashes, scheduled to commence next month.
Stokes was bought by CSK for INR 16.25 crore during the IPL auction in December 2022, making him the most expensive player ever for the franchise. However, his campaign was marred by some fitness concerns. The ace English cricketer could only play the first couple of games for the franchise and scored 15 runs. He bowled just one over and conceded 18 runs.
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“With the Ashes series between England and Australia beginning with the opening Test on June 16, BenStokes will ‘return to the UK after their final group game against Delhi Capitals on Saturday afternoon”, stated an ESPNcricinfo report.
Ben Stokes to miss playoffs for CSK as he is returning England after CSK last league game against DC. pic.twitter.com/hL1c9byYOe
— Dr. Cric Point (@drcricpoint) May 15, 2023
As part of their preparation, England is also set to play a Test against Ireland at Lord’s on June 1 and Stokes, who has a long-running knee issue, had expressed his desire to play the role of a fourth seamer during the Ashes.
Following the April 3 game, Ben Stokes didn’t play any game for CSK initially due to a toe injury. On April 22, CSK chief coach Stephen Fleming said that Stokes has ‘suffered an injury setback and will be out for a week.’ The star all-rounder was available for selection again last week but he wasn’t included in the playing XI for CSK.
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While CSK is sitting pretty at the second spot in the IPL standings, Stephen Fleming said after their loss against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on Sunday that bowling remains “a bit of a challenge” at the moment for Stokes and he is there as ‘batting cover’. With just one more match to go in the league stages against Delhi Capitals on Saturday, CSK are not expected to ‘chop and change’ their playing XI.