Ben Stokes insists he WILL go to India and fulfill £1.6m IPL deal with Chennai Super Kings despite being ‘frustrated’ with a left knee injury… as England captain struggles with the issue in agonising second Test defeat to New Zealand
- The England captain insisted he will try to manage the condition of his left knee
- Stokes is reluctant to undergo an operation as it would rule him out for summer
- He’s spoken with the Chennai coach and claim they are ‘fully aware’ of the injury
Ben Stokes insists he will go to India and fulfil his £1.6million IPL deal with Chennai ahead of this summer’s Ashes even though he admits he is ‘frustrated’ by the condition of his left knee.
The England captain has tried to play through the chronic injury but was unable to bowl more than two overs in the dramatic second Test defeat against New Zealand and was clearly struggling with the problem and for mobility when he batted today.
But Stokes brushed aside any suggestion he should miss out on the biggest franchise competition in cricket to either rest the knee or consider the possibility of surgery ahead of the biggest Test series of them all in June and July.
Instead he will look to manage the condition through the IPL and insists he will liaise with Chennai coach Stephen Fleming to ensure he does not further damage his knee and jeopardise his chances of leading a transformed England side into the Ashes.
‘I’m going to the IPL,’ said Stokes after New Zealand had edged one of the most remarkable Tests of all time to defeat England by one run here at the Basin Reserve. ‘I’ve had conversations with ‘Flem’ and he’s fully aware of the situation with my body. It’s a week by week case at the moment.’
Ben Stokes insists he will not let injury prevent him from fulfilling £1.6million deal with Chennai
The England captain struggled with an injury to his left knee in the test against New Zealand
Stokes, who has previously played down the injury, says he knows what the problem is but would not reveal details of it. Instead he admitted his frustration at what must be crunch-time for the injury and says it is now stopping him fulfilling his role in balancing his side as a genuine all-rounder.
‘I’m not going to lie, it’s incredibly frustrating knowing something has been holding me back from performing as I’d like to,’ said Stokes. ‘I’ve been working hard with the physios and the medics trying to get myself to a place where I can fulfil my role as I have done for the last 10 years.
‘I’ve got a four-month period now to get it better before the Ashes because I want to be turning up for the first Test in Birmingham able to fulfil my role properly. I’ll be doing everything I can to give myself the best opportunity not to have to worry about it.’
For all Stokes determination to take his place with Chennai his participation must be a concern so close to the Ashes. The IPL is a very demanding competition and Stokes already has experience of being injured while playing in it, having badly broken his finger while playing for Rajasthan Royals in 2021.
But managing director Rob Key takes a phlegmatic approach to his best players taking part in the ever-increasing amount of franchise competitions that are changing the world cricketing landscape, reasoning he has to work with them rather than against them.
Key will trust Stokes to look after himself as best he can in the competition which begins next month reassured that the captain is more committed to England and the health of Test cricket than ever before.
But Key will keep his fingers firmly crossed that Stokes and other important IPL-bound England players like Jofra Archer and Harry Brook come to no harm while cashing in on the enormous Twenty20 opportunities now available to the best cricketers.
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