Stokes opts out of IPL 2024 to ‘manage workload and fitness’

Ben Stokes, Chennai Super Kings’ England allrounder, has made himself unavailable for IPL 2024 to manage his workload and fitness. In a statement on their website, the franchise said they were “supportive of Ben in his decision.”

Super Kings, though, have not said if they will release Stokes.

The IPL has set Sunday, November 26, as the deadline for franchises to announce their retentions and releases for the 2024 season.

In case they do not release Stokes, Super Kings will have the option of retaining him ahead of the mega auction for IPL 2025.

Stokes, who had recently come out of ODI retirement to play the ODI World Cup in India, was one of England’s best batters on show even as the team had a horror run in the tournament.

Stokes revealed that he would be undergoing knee surgery soon after the World Cup, a step he had been delaying for a while. Depending on his rehab, Stokes and ECB will determine the timeline of his return.

Stokes, who was Super Kings’ most expensive buy ever in the auction ahead of the 2023 IPL season – INR 16.25 crore (US$ 1.98 million approx. at the time) – played just two games through the season, scoring 15 runs and bowling just the one over.

This was partly because of the left-knee injury, which had forced him to start the season as a specialist batter.

The injury to the knee had been a long-standing one, but had flared up during England’s tour of New Zealand in February this year. Stephen Fleming, the Super Kings coach, had said at the time that the team would wait for Stokes to be “100% ready” before asking him to bowl.

At the World Cup, Stokes played six of England’s nine games, missing the first three but then ending up being England’s second-highest run-scorer behind Dawid Malan.

Stokes, who didn’t bowl at all at the World Cup, scored 304 runs in his six innings including two half-centuries and a century, ending with a scoring sequence of 64 (vs Australia), 108 (vs Netherlands) and 84 (vs Pakistan).

He scored at an average of 50.66 and a strike rate of 89.14.

As things stand, Stokes, the England Test captain, is hopeful of touring India for the five-Test series, to 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. (ESPNcricinfo)