ECB ready to permit Ben Stokes to play in 2018 IPL
What's the story?
England's star all-rounder Ben Stokes, who is currently under suspension from national duty, is likely to enter the 2018 IPL Auction. England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are ready to issue a No Objection Certificate (NOC) for the 26-year old to participate in the entire duration of next year's IPL season.
However, his international future continues to hang in the balance as the board are still awaiting the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) verdict before deciding their next course of action.
ECB's chief executive Tom Harrison affirmed, "Ben asked for an NOC to play in New Zealand and we were happy to grant one. He remains on full pay. It's up to him to decide if he wants to play in the IPL. We could say we don't want him to go. But I imagine that, having given him an NOC to go and play in New Zealand, it would be difficult for us to say we would not apply the same thinking towards playing in other parts of the world."
He added, "We would want board backing for a decision of this magnitude and the implications for it in terms of reputation is something we will have to work out. The full board are now involved in this and any application from Ben for a no objection certificate to play in India will be considered by them."
Having been put on indefinite suspension by the ECB in the aftermath of the fall-out emanating from his involvement in the infamous street brawl at Bristol, Stokes flew to New Zealand and played for Canterbury in three matches each in The Ford Trophy as well as Super Smash.
The heart of the matter
After featuring in six white-ball games for Canterbury, Stokes has returned to United Kingdom due to unspecified family reasons. Although he has been named in England's squad for their upcoming ODI series against Australia, the all-rounder's participation in the tour depends on whether CPS press criminal charges for his role in the drunken brawl.
Even if his national suspension is maintained by ECB's Cricket Disciplinary Committee (CDC), Stokes appears to be free to enter the 2018 IPL Auction. With him likely to be available for the entire duration of next year's IPL season, the left-hander's stock may rise in the eyes of the franchises. It is pertinent to note that he was crowned the Most Valuable Player during his stint with Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) in the 2017 edition.
If CPS decide to press charges, Stokes may not return to the England set-up until the end of 2018. The mega auction for next year's IPL will take place on January 27 and 28 in Bengaluru.
Considering his sparkling showing for RPS in the 2017 IPL season and the possibility of him being available for the vast majority of next year's edition, Stokes could spark a bidding war among the prominent franchises in the auction.