Former England bowler Steve Harmison thinks so. He believes that Ben Stokes should skip Indian Premier League IPL 2023 to ensure his fitness for the Ashes 2023, which will be held in England this year. The English team, led by all-rounder Ben Stokes, will be aiming to regain the Ashes against Australia at home.
England’s Ashes Drought
England has not won the Ashes since 2019 and their last win at home was in 2015. With this in mind, Harmison feels that it is imperative for Stokes to prioritize his recovery and fitness ahead of any other cricketing engagements, including IPL 2023.
Harmison’s Views on Ben Stokes’ Injury
Stokes has a high pain threshold, which may be a problem, according to Harmison. However, the knee injury that he has sustained is limiting his movement, and it was visible in a recent innings. “I think there are some brave decisions to be made because Ben Stokes is so important, so crucial, to England’s chances of winning the Ashes,” said Harmison.
The Importance of Ben Stokes’ Fitness for the Ashes
Harmison believes that a conversation needs to happen between the medical team, Rob Key, Brendon McCullum, and Ben Stokes on how to get the latter fit for the Ashes. Harmison emphasized that Stokes’ fitness for the Ashes is the most critical thing at this moment.
Ben Stokes’ IPL Participation
Stokes has been bought by the Chennai Super Kings for INR 16.26 crores in the IPL 2023 auction. Despite his knee injury, he has confirmed that he will be playing in the tournament. However, he also stated that his participation is a “week-by-week” case at the moment.
While Harmison’s views on Ben Stokes‘ participation in IPL 2023 may be debatable, it cannot be denied that Stokes’ fitness for the Ashes is vital for England’s chances of winning the tournament. Given the significance of the Ashes, it is understandable why Harmison wants Stokes to prioritize his recovery and fitness for the tournament. Ultimately, it will be up to Stokes and the medical team to decide what is best for him, taking into account the demands of both IPL and the Ashes.
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