IPL 2023: The Indian Premier League is only three days away as fans are gearing up to watch the high-profile tournament commencing on March 31. The 16th edition of the IPL will be back with home and away flavour after a three-year gap. Defending Champions Gujarat Titans will face four-time winners Chennai Super Kings in the opener at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. But before the action begins, Dhoni's franchise is surrounded by a big problem.
Star all-rounder Ben Stokes will not bowl in the opening few matches of the season as he is nursing his injured knee, a report by ESPNCricinfo informed. Stokes is facing a recurring problem to his knee and it went worse during the Test series against New Zealand. The report added that he has taken a cortisone injection for the knee problem.
"My understanding is he's ready to go as a batsman from the start. The bowling might be wait and see. I know he had his first very light bowl yesterday (Sunday) since he had his injections in his knee," CSK batting coach Michael Hussey said as quoted by ESPNCricinfo.
Stokes likely to bowl later
The batting coach reiterated that Stokes won't be bowling in the opening few matches and might roll his arm later at some stage."The physios from Chennai and the ECB are working pretty closely together. My understanding is he won't be bowling much at all in the first few games of the tournament. It might be a few weeks. I'm not 100% sure, [but we will] hopefully get him bowling at some stage in the tournament," Hussey added.
This will only add problems for CSK as they are likely to miss the services of another pacer Mukesh Choudhary. The Indian youngster is undergoing rehab for his back injury at the NCA and can miss the upcoming season. Chennai are left with some brainstorming work as they are finding bowlers for the death overs.
Stokes' bowling got curtailed to only 9 overs in the two Test matches against New Zealand. He was seen in serious physical pain during the final day of the series in Wellington. After the match, the English captain stated that he will be playing the IPL and would look to have regular conversations with CSK coach Fleming regarding his body. "I’m going to the IPL. I’ve had conversations with Fleming and he’s fully aware of my body situation. It’s a week-by-week case at the moment." Stokes said.