28 Mar 2023, 17:00

England skipper Stokes set to start IPL as batsman only - Hussey

LONDON, March 28, 2023 (BSS/AFP) - England Test captain Ben Stokes is set to

begin the Indian Premier League as a batsman only after having a cortisone
injection in his troublesome left knee ahead of the Ashes, according to Mike

Stokes was signed by the Chennai Super Kings for an impressive fee of $1.96
million in December.

But the star all-rounder was not fully fit during England's recent tour of
New Zealand, and after bowling just two overs in a dramatic one-run defeat in
the second Test in Wellington the 31-year-old said: "I'm not going to lie,
it's incredibly frustrating knowing something has been holding me back from
performing as I'd like to."

England and Wales Cricket Board medical staff have been working closely with
their Chennai counterparts to manage Stokes' workload ahead of the five-Test
Ashes series against Australia in England starting in June.

Super Kings batting coach Hussey, who worked with Stokes during England's
victorious Twenty20 World Cup campaign in November, said he would be looked
after in the latest edition of the T20 extravaganza IPL starting Friday.

"The physios from Chennai and the ECB are working pretty closely together,"
former Australia batsman Hussey, 47, told Britain's PA news agency and

"He (Stokes) is ready to go as a batsman from the start, the bowling might be
wait and see. I know he had his first very light bowl this week since he had
his injections in his knee.

"My understanding is he won't be bowling much at all in the first few games
of the tournament, or it might be a few weeks, I'm not 100 percent sure. But
hopefully we'll get him bowling at some stage in the tournament."

Hussey, who played in 79 Tests, jokingly referenced Stokes's importance to
England in the Ashes by saying: "From an Australian perspective I'm going to
hope he bowls 20 or 30 overs in nets.

"We'll be running him into the ground and I'll be making sure he does extra
weight sessions and run throughs to put pressure on that body.

"I'm joking obviously," insisted Hussey who will be in charge of the Welsh
Fire during English domestic cricket's Hundred competition later this year.

"I want a fit Ben Stokes playing 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.

"He's going to be huge for us (at Chennai) too, particularly if we can get
him bowling."



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