Ben Stokes to start IPL as specialist batter amid ongoing knee injury concerns

Chennai Super Kings are set to have the England Test captain available for the start of the competition but may have to wait for him to get up to full speed, says batting coach Mike Hussey


Ben Stokes is set to start the 2023 Indian Premier League as a specialist batter for Chennai Super Kings due to ongoing concerns regarding his left knee.

These problems were evident again during England's Test tour of New Zealand, where he only managed to bowl nine overs, and was seen visibly grimacing in pain. 

CSK's batting coach Mike Hussey says Stokes will be fit to start the IPL but only as a batter, admitting the franchise may have to bide their time with his bowling.

"My understanding is he's ready to go as a batsman from the start," he told the Press Association and ESPNCricinfo.


Stokes has been dogged with the knee problem for several months (Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

"[Stokes] won't be bowling much at all in the first few games of the tournament… it might be a few weeks. I'm not 100 per cent sure."

Before travelling to India, the England Test captain received a cortisone injection, which is commonly used to treat painful joints, according to multiple reports. 

Despite his issues, Stokes remains committed to fulfilling his contract with the four-time winners after being purchased for a franchise-record 16.25 crore (£1.6 million) during December's auction.

However, to ensure he is fully rested for the Ashes, Stokes has already ruled himself out of featuring in the playoffs in late May. The series begins on June 16.


Hussey is keen for Stokes to be fully fit to face Australia this summer (Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

"The physios from Chennai and the ECB are working pretty closely together," added Hussey. "This franchise is very professional and works very closely with all the national boards."

The former Australian batter joked CSK would "be running him into the ground" and ensure "he does extra weight sessions and run-throughs to put as much pressure on that body", but he is as keen as anyone that Stokes is physically right to take on Australia.

"I want a fit Ben Stokes playing his best cricket at the Ashes," Hussey admitted. "This franchise is very professional, works very closely with all the national boards, and I know our physio has already been working with the ECB physios. 

"I want to see his best cricket at the Ashes; I want both teams at their best, going hard at it, and I think it will be an unbelievable series to watch."

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