England's star all-rounder Ben Stokes is all ready to begin his IPL journey by featuring for Rising Pune Supergiant in his debut season. For a long time, Stokes was seen as the new Andrew Flintoff of English cricket and now following his footsteps, he has become one of the highest paid all rounders (as Flintoff was in 2009) in the league, Rs 14.5 Cr, second only to Yuvraj Singh in the history of IPL.
Stokes’ biggest task will be to lift Pune’s fortunes from the seventh spot in the last season to the trophy which has always eluded Pune franchise. Except lifting Pune’s fortunes, Stokes will also be looking for some happy memories in India. England lost the ODI and T20I series in India last year and his last over in WT20 final in 2016 will haunt him forever.
ECB has always had a tight grip over their players when it comes to play in IPL but Stokes is the latest English recruit to join the cash-enriched league. He will be joining his English cricket team skipper Eoin Morgan along with Chris Jordan, Tymal Mills, Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes.
Stokes has expressed his delight over his presence in India for the tournament. He said, “I’m excited to be here and grateful for the opportunity. It will be my first IPL., which I have only watched on TV in the past. I hope we have a good season, and we hopefully win the trophy” he said.
Being an all rounder, Stokes was expected to attract huge bids in the build up to the IPL auction and he attracted bids from 5 teams. He feels a few things went his way on the auction table that he was able to fetch the second highest price tag in the history of IPL.
Stokes also hailed IPL as the best competition in the world saying it provides more exposure as a cricketer. He said, “In England it isn’t a franchise competition. SO, the exposure you get in a tournament like this, you don’t get there. This is the best in the world., and you get to share the change room in IPL and Big Bash with other international players. You get to share,and take your T20 game to a new level.”
It is tough to disagree with Stokes considering how the totals in limited overs’ cricket has reached new heights since the inception of this league.
“I’m going to be here for six weeks, and solely focus on T20 cricket. The level of exposure here compared to anything (will be far better)”, he added.
Like every other cricketer, Stokes is also aware of the challenges this format offers to a bowler. As he said, “T20 cricket is tough for the bowlers. You can bowl the same way in two games. It can work in one but go a different way in the other, batsmen can hit you 360 degrees. So the change of pace, and line and length, is important.”