The 12th edition of India's top T20 league - IPL 2019 - will begin on March 23. The schedule for the first two weeks has been announced, and the first match will be played between the defending champions Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The IPL is undoubtedly the biggest T20 league in the world. It’s a huge platform for new talents and veterans to showcase their skills in the shortest format of the game.
Foreign players have made a huge impact in the past editions of IPL. In the last 11 editions, except Sachin Tendulkar in 2010 and Virat Kohli in 2016, all the Most Valuable Player titles have been won by overseas players - with most of them being all-rounders.
Even though T20 is known to be a batsman’s format, it's the all-rounders who bring the right balance to the team.
This year we have some debutant all-rounders like Anrich Nortje, Sam Curran, Ashton Turner etc. who will try and make their mark in the league. The big name who went unsold in the auction is Jason Holder.
On that note, let us take a look at 3 overseas all-rounders to watch out for in this edition of IPL.
#3 Ben Stokes (Rajasthan Royals)
The 27-year-old Ben Stokes is unarguably one of the best all-rounders in modern day cricket. Stokes will be one of the key players for England in the upcoming World Cup this year. He is flexible enough to bat at any position in the middle, and is known for his partnership breaking spells.
Despite England’s 1-2 loss to Windies in the Test series, Stokes had a good run with both bat and ball. However, his performance was rather mediocre in the ODI series. He has now been rested for the T20 series.
In the IPL Stokes was bought by Rising Pune Supergiant (2017) for INR 14.5 crore. He scored 316 runs and picked 12 wickets, and was named the Most Valuable Player of that season.
He was then bought by Rajasthan Royals in 2018 for INR 12.5 crore, but he had a below average outing that season.
He is expected to bat in the middle order for Rajasthan Royals in 2019. There is no doubt that Stokes will be looking forward to gaining back his momentum this season.