Ben Stokes is an indispensable player for the Rajasthan Royals. He is the perfect example of a three-dimensional cricketer who can bat at any position, bowl all four of his overs in a T20 game, and field excellently too.
The English all-rounder has been a part of the RR squad since 2018 and has led his team to several victories.
Stokes' flexible nature with respect to his batting position raises curiosity among the Rajasthan Royals fans. Here is a detailed analysis with regards to where the all-rounder should bat in IPL 2021:
Ben Stokes as an opener in IPL cricket
Stokes opened the batting for the Rajashthan Royals in all the 8 matches he played in IPL 2020. In those 8 innings, he scored 285 runs at an impressive average of 40.71 and an incredible strike rate of 142.50. That included a brilliant century against the Mumbai Indians and a half-century against Kings XI Punjab.
Prior to 2020, he had opened the batting for Rajasthan just once - in 2018.
As an opener in IPL cricket, Stokes averages 37 in 9 IPL innings.
Stokes as a middle-order batsman in IPL cricket
Stokes has not tasted that much success in the middle-order in IPL cricket. Leaving aside his stints as an opener, he has batted in all positions from number 3 to number 6.
At number 3, he has played a solitary innings, scoring 16 runs.
At number 4, the all-rounder has played 14 innings and averages just 22.15 with a single half-century to his credit.
At number 5, Stokes has scored 246 runs in 15 innings at an average of 22.36, scoring one century.
At number 6, he has batted on two occasions and scored 74 runs at an average of 37.
Why Stokes should open the batting for Rajasthan Royals
Ben Stokes records a much better average as an opener than in the middle-order in IPL cricket. As mentioned hereinabove, he averages 40.71 opening the batting which is far better than his overall batting average of 26.29 in IPL cricket.
With Jos Buttler also in the Royals' ranks, it would be a delight for cricket fans to watch Stokes open the batting with him at the other end. The duo have played innumerable matches for England and know each other's game inside out. They form a formidable pair at the top of the order, capable of playing attacking cricket right from the word go.
Buttler and Stokes are arguably the best batsmen in the RR squad. The team would ideally want the duo to face the maximum number of deliveries. Stokes can take full advantage of the power-play overs and once set, he can play a long aggressive innings all the way through to the end.
In all likelihood, Ben Stokes will bat at number 1 or number 2 for Rajasthan Royals in the upcoming IPL season and will look to cement his role as an opener.