Stokes set to skip this year’s IPL to help England recovery after Ashes debacle
Ben Stokes is set to miss the IPL this year in order to focus on his England commitments, with the tournament set to overlap with their first Test of the summer
England vice-captain Ben Stokes is set to follow captain Joe Root ‘s lead and skip the upcoming IPL mega-auction.
Stokes, who was bought for around £1.7m by the Rajasthan Royals in 2018, was not retained by the franchise for this year’s edition of the tournament.
Despite the prospect of earning another huge payday in the IPL, the Daily Mail, the Telegraph and the Evening Standard are all reporting that Stokes is expected not to enter the auction.
Root has already said he will not be entering the auction, having decided to focus on turning England’s Test fortunes around after their 4-0 Ashes defeat to Australia.
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“I’ll keep sacrificing as much as I can because I care so much about Test cricket in our country,” Root said.
England quick Mark Wood has also admitted he may decide to skip the IPL in order to focus on his international commitments.
“No disrespect to IPL teams but England is always going to be my No.1 because when I was growing up that’s who I wanted to play for,” he said.
“I want to play across all three formats and that’s at the forefront of my mind.”
This year’s IPL has been expanded to 74 matches after two new franchises from Ahmedabad and Lucknow were added.
The tournament is scheduled to begin on April 2 and finish on June 3, meaning the knockout stages will directly clash with the start of England’s Test series against New Zealand.
As a result, Stokes is reportedly set to turn his back on the IPL in order to prioritise Test cricket.
When asked about the all-rounders plans for the IPL, England head coach Chris Silverwood said: “I’m not 100 per cent sure yet. I’ve got an inclination but I’ll let him tell you.”
Players have to make a final decision on their involvement by January 20, with forms needing to be submitted for the auction by that deadline.