Rajasthan Royals have struggled to find an ideal team combination in IPL 2020 so far, and Ben Stokes’ absence seems to have played a major role. The all-rounder had been away due to personal reasons and only recently touched down in the UAE ahead of RR’s clash against Delhi Capitals on Friday (9th October, 2020).
Though Ben Stokes was not included in the playing eleven in that game due to him undergoing self-isolation, speculations have been rife about his inclusion in today’s encounter against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The Royals, who are seventh in the points table, would hope that Ben Stokes can be their catalyst as they intend to chart an upward trajectory in the remainder of IPL 2020.
While there remain doubts whether head coach Andrew McDonald would want to throw Ben Stokes into the deep end, there is no denying that the all-rounder would be an immediate upgrade on most of Rajasthan Royals' overseas options. And, even though Ben Stokes has not played competitive cricket since August, there exists the temptation to bring him into the fold, considering the fast-paced nature of the IPL.
“Stokes hasn’t had a lot of practice, he gets out of quarantine tomorrow, so we’ll see if he plays the day after tomorrow,” skipper Steve Smith said after the match against DC.
Ben Stokes will be invaluable to Rajasthan Royals
Two of the major issues plaguing Rajasthan Royals at the moment are their middle-order and their bowling options. While 3 of their top 6 – Yashasvi Jaiswal, Mahipal Lomror and Rahul Tewatia – have played just 36 IPL matches between them, their fragile bowling attack leaking too many runs while they have also been unable to pick wickets at regular intervals.
Quite remarkably, Ben Stokes can plug both those holes. On the batting front, the English all-rounder can play the anchor role and bat through the innings, and he can also wield the willow excellent towards the end of the innings.
Stokes would be an invaluable asset with the ball, too. He can not only bowl at any stage of the innings but also has a knack of picking wickets. Steve Smith would look to hand him the new ball to get rid of the in-form duo of David Warner and Jonny Bairstow, and then deploy him to stem the flow of runs in the death overs.
Ben Stokes, who won the Most Valuable Player in IPL 2017, has scored 635 runs and scalped 26 wickets in 34 IPL matches so far.Published 11 Oct 2020, 14:23 IST