Chennai Super Kings (CSK) CEO, Kasi Viswanathan, has stated that the franchise is confident that Ben Stokes will be available to play for the entire Indian Premier League (IPL) season. As the team begins its preparatory camp for the season on March 31, Viswanathan assured that there have been no indications to the contrary regarding the availability of English players.
Before the auction, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) informed the CSK that the English players would be available for the entire IPL. Viswanathan added, “We’ve not had any information that is contrary to the BCCI communication.”
Conflicting Signals from Stokes
There have been reports of an injury to Stokes, and the England red-ball captain also indicated that he might leave the IPL early to play in England’s Test match against Ireland. Stokes suffered a knee injury during the recently concluded Test against New Zealand at Basin Reserve in Wellington.
Stokes said, “Yes, I’ll play. I’ll be making sure that I give myself enough time to get back and play that (Ireland) game,” before the Test series began. However, the Test against Ireland is too close to the IPL dates, which run from March 31 to May 28. If Chennai Super Kings qualify for the final, there could be a conflicting schedule, and all parties will have to come to a common ground.
ECB Official Downplays Injury Fears
An official from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) indicated that Stokes would manage with his franchise and try to negotiate so that everyone’s interests are protected. The ECB official said, “He’ll manage with his franchise, but no date is fixed for his return from the IPL.”
Kyle Jamieson’s Replacement
Chennai Super Kings will begin their preparatory camp on March 3, with most players attending, including skipper MS Dhoni. Ruturaj Gaikwad and Deepak Chahar will join the camp a week later. The camp will provide an opportunity for the franchise to discuss a replacement for New Zealand pacer Kyle Jamieson, who was bought for Rs 1 crore at the auction but has been ruled out due to injury. Viswanathan plans to speak to Dhoni and coach Stephen Fleming about Jamieson’s replacement.
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