England’s star all-rounder Ben Stokes has decided to skip the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 season, citing the need to carefully manage his workload and ensure peak fitness. The announcement comes as Stokes gears up for the challenging five-match Test series against India, scheduled just ahead of the IPL, and the ICC T20 World Cup in June.
Chennai Super Kings (CSK), the franchise that acquired Stokes in a high-profile bid during the IPL 2023 auction for a hefty Rs 16.25 crores, confirmed the news in a statement. The Englishman’s decision stems from a strategic approach to prioritize his fitness, a move supported by the CSK management.
Ben Stokes, who assumed the role of England Test captain, had a truncated IPL 2023 campaign, playing only two matches due to persistent fitness issues. Despite being a marquee signing, he scored a modest 15 runs with a high score of 8 and failed to make a significant impact with the ball. The decision to sit out the IPL 2024 underscores his commitment to long-form cricket and the upcoming T20 World Cup.
The 32-year-old all-rounder recently made a comeback to international cricket during the ODI World Cup 2023 after briefly retiring. His stellar performance included 304 runs in six matches at an impressive average of 50.66 and a striking strike rate of over 89. Stokes contributed significantly with one century and two half-centuries, showcasing his prowess as a match-winner despite England’s 7th-place finish in the tournament.
While England couldn’t defend their title in the ODI World Cup, Stokes’ standout performances ensured a berth in the ICC Champions Trophy 2025, set to take place in Pakistan. The decision to skip IPL 2024 aligns with his commitment to representing England in multiple formats, as the gruelling five-Test series against India looms large on the horizon.
Ben Stokes, with a rich IPL history that includes stints with Rising Pune Supergiant in 2017 and Rajasthan Royals from 2018-21, leaves a notable void in the CSK lineup. His absence will be felt not only as a dynamic all-rounder but also as a seasoned campaigner with a valuable understanding of the tournament’s dynamics.
In his 45 IPL appearances, Stokes has amassed 935 runs at an average of 24.61, delivering two centuries and two fifties. His bowling prowess has seen him claim 28 wickets, with a best figure of 3/15. Having been the ‘Most Valuable Player’ in the 2017 season with Rising Pune Supergiant, Stokes leaves behind a legacy in the tournament that fans will miss in the upcoming edition.
As the cricketing world absorbs the news of Ben Stokes opting out of IPL 2024, the focus now shifts to how Chennai Super Kings will adapt to the absence of their star player and how Stokes’ strategic decision will impact his performance in the crucial international assignments that lie ahead.