England have just finished a grueling tour of India, where they featured in four Tests, five T20Is and three ODIs. But what lies ahead for them is no less demanding.
Ben Stokes and a number of other England cricketers will be part of the IPL that begins on April 9. The team will then play five home Tests against India and a couple versus New Zealand. The T20 World Cup will be held in India in October-November and there is the little matter of the Ashes.
Ben Stokes, who featured in all three formats in India, wrote in his column for Mirror UK that the arduous schedule coupled with COVID-induced restrictions can make life rather challenging mentally and physically. The all-rounder said:
"It could give you a headache just thinking about what the schedule looks like, which is why I’m trying so hard to just focus on what is in front of me. It is the only way to cope with it all. And yet between the matches, the training, and the movement from one bubble to another, there is no doubt it can leave you feeling flat at times. And while there is plenty of fun to be had on the field, there are moments off it when you’re almost in limbo and just a bit stuck."
The 29-year-old will be representing Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2021. Ben Stokes is the franchise’s marquee player and could have to shoulder additional responsibility with Jofra Archer likely to miss the entire edition.
White-ball series could have worked out differently: Ben Stokes
England competed hard in India, but ended up second best in all three formats. Reflecting on the tour, Ben Stokes admitted that the results were disappointing, especially in the white-ball format, where he felt England could have done better. Ben Stokes wrote in his column:
”The India tour with England was always going to be tough on body and mind and so it proved with the results not quite going our way either. The Tests were as stiff a challenge as you will ever see, but both white ball series could have worked out differently so we’re pretty disappointed not to have come away with some silverware to show for it.”
”But no sooner has that finished, I now find myself in Mumbai gearing up for the Indian Premier League with Rajasthan Royals and that is going to be another intense tournament. Then comes Test cricket, more International white-ball cricket, The Hundred, more Test cricket, and then the T20 World Cup and the Ashes,” he added.
Ben Stokes smashed a brilliant 52-ball 99 in the second ODI in India. Overall, though, he has a mediocre series by his standards.