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Ben Stokes reveals reason behind entering 2017 IPL Auction

England all-rounder points to his team mate's marked transformation after playing in the IPL.

Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler
Ben Stokes wants to emulate fellow England star, Jos Buttler

What’s the story?

England’s premier all-rounder Ben Stokes has shed light into why he decided to put his name in the 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL) auction. While the lucrativeness of a high-profile contract remains a major attraction, the experience of rubbing shoulders with some of the best players and utilising the platform to improve his skills would remain the primary goal for the Durham-based cricketer.

Alluding to the case of fellow national star and attacking wicket-keeper batsman, Jos Buttler, he expressed eagerness to take his game to the next level by honing his trade in the Twenty20 tournament.

“I just want to get picked up. That is the main thing about it. I asked Jos (Buttler) how it was and he said it is ‘gun’ which is what we (England players) say for awesome. Since he came back from the IPL – you can tell from the way he has played, he has gone to another level in terms of hitting, his consistency and where he can hit the ball. He has always been able to hit around the ground but playing in the IPL has taken him another level from where he was,” Stokes was quoted as saying by the Telegraph.

Extra Cover: Reports – Ben Stokes faces £100,000 penalty for playing in IPL 2017

The Context

Upon receiving feedback from Buttler and a few other England players, the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has urged more of their leading names to experience the IPL and further their white-ball improvement. Stokes has set his base price at £260,000 and should be highly sought-after by several franchises. 

The heart of the matter

Whilst reiterating that England’s limited-overs stocks are on the rise, Stokes focused on the importance of having different options to clear the boundary in the rapidly evolving modern game. In the bowling department, having to counter a wide variety of situations against some dynamic batsmen should offer a steep learning curve for the promising all-rounder.

His reference to Buttler’s metamorphosis makes for interesting reading. Before making his IPL debut for Mumbai Indians in the 2016 edition, the right-hander scored 839 runs for England from 48 T20Is at an average of 26.21 and strike-rate of 140.30 to go with his 1798 runs from 70 ODIs at an average of 35.25 and strike-rate of 118.75.

Since gaining experience from the popular Twenty20 competition in India, he has registered 104 runs from 5 T20Is at an average of 34.66 and strike-rate of 136.84 alongside his 471 runs from 14 ODIs at an average of 52.33 and strike-rate of 121.07. The small sample size notwithstanding, Buttler’s numbers post IPL appear to be considerably better. 

What‘s next?

After being pushed back due to the administration crisis within the BCCI, the auction should finally take place on the 20th at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Bengaluru. Assuming Stokes gets picked up, ECB are likely to allow him to skip the 2-match ODI series against Ireland in order to continue featuring in the IPL.

Sportskeeda’s Take

England’s recent openness to send their major players to various T20 tournaments across the globe suggests an underlying ambition to build well-oiled and dynamic white-ball teams. By featuring in the 2017 IPL, Stokes could enhance certain aspects of his game and become a better cricketer in the shorter formats, particularly under pressure situations.

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