With the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2020) less than a week away, the IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals (RR) is still in doubt over the participation of their star all-rounder Ben Stokes in the tournament.
Rajasthan Royals head coach Andrew McDonald has said that the franchise is not ‘sure’ about the availability of veteran all-rounder Ben Stokes in the Indian Premier League (IPL), who is with his ailing father in New Zealand. Stokes, who was the hero of England’s World Cup title win last year, is going through a tough phase. He withdrew from the team in August before the second Test of the series against Pakistan after his father was diagnosed with brain cancer.
McDonald told ESPNcricinfo, “First and foremost, thoughts with the Stokes family. It’s a difficult scenario, so we are giving him as much time as he needs, and connecting with him as best as we can. So yeah, we are not sure where Stokesy’s right now, but once it has played out, then we can make our decisions from there.”
McDonald did not seem too worried when asked about team captain Steve Smith not playing in the first two matches of the Australia-England ODI series. He said, “Steve Smith is a bit more clear-cut, I think. He needs a little bit of time, it was a short turnaround between game one and two where the concussion happened, so I’d imagine there were some lingering side effects.
“They’ll be erring on the side of caution, so hopefully (they will) see him out there again on Wednesday (for the third ODI against England in Manchester).”
McDonald, who was appointed as the head coach of the team last year, is expecting better results from the team due to the presence of young players in his first IPL.
“We’ve added some depth in terms of our left-hand batting, in particular in (Anuj) Rawat and (Yashashvi) Jaiswal among the home-grown players, so we think we’ve got some options there.
“The way we set up at the auction, we feel we can structure our side up to three or four different ways.”
The coach also spoke about South African player David Miller, who is known for his finishing skills.
“He’s got great flexibility. He was at Kings XI (Punjab) for a long time, so I’m hoping that change of environment sparks his best form. He’s really fitted into our environment well.
“He was the first overseas player to land, which is great because usually, you don’t get access to the overseas guys until 10 days out or sometimes less.
“He’s been nothing but fantastic so far for the group, helping our young left-handers in particular, and just creating energy around the group. And his fielding is second to none.”