Indian Premier League clears its position on Ben Stokes situation

The league will let a team hire Ben Stokes’ replacement in case he remains unavailable for the entire duration of the Indian Premier League 2018 season

cricket Updated: Jan 21, 2018 17:34 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Indian Premier League,Ben Stokes,IPL 2018
Ben Stokes’ participating in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 season remains uncertain.(Getty Images)

With uncertainty surrounding Ben Stokes’ availability for this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL), the advisory body of the league announced that a team buying the England all-rounder would be entitled to hire his replacement in case he remains unavailable for the entire duration of the tournament. However, if he misses only part of the event, the franchise won’t be eligible to seek his replacement.

According to a report in ESPNcricinfo, IPL advisory made this announcement on Sunday. “Due to the uncertainty regarding court dates and therefore his (Stokes’) availability for the IPL 2018 season, BCCI confirms that if he is completely unavailable in advance of the season he may be replaced under section 6.1 (e) of the 2018-20 IPL Player Regulations,” ESPNCricinfo quoted the IPL as having told the franchises.

“In the event of his partial unavailability due to the court process, then he may not be replaced. Player replacements for partial unavailability during the IPL Season are only allowed in relation to player injuries as prescribed by section 6.1 of the 2018-20 IPL Player Regulations,” the statement added.

In a note addressed to all the eight franchises the IPL also explained that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have already given Stokes a No Objection Certificate while the chances of court case hampering Stokes’ participation in the league are minimal. “The ECB have confirmed they will issue an NOC for Ben Stokes and advised that the Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) will wait for the conclusion of all criminal proceedings relating to the charge against Ben before it runs its independent process.”

“Ben’s legal advisors have advised that they think it highly unlikely that the criminal proceedings will conclude before the end of IPL 2018,” the IPL told the franchises. “They have advised that they do not expect the criminal proceedings will have any impact on Ben’s availability for IPL 2018.”

What is the issue?

Stokes was involved in a brawl outside a nightclub in Bristol in September 2017 following which he was arrested. Later a charge of affray was levelled against him by the UK Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) earlier this week. He is likely to appear in Bristol Magistrates’ Court on February 13 to defend his case.

Depending on the circumstances, either Magistrates’ Court or Crown Court deals with a case of affray. While a Crown Court can hand over the maximum punishment of a three-year imprisonment in the case, at Magistrates’ Court, the maximum sentence is only six months.

Ever since his arrest on September 25, Stokes has not played international cricket missing the Ashes and the ODIs in Australia. The only cricket he has played in this period is for New Zealand domestic side Canterbury.

Remains a sought after player in IPL

Controversy aside, the English all-rounder remains a sough-after player in the IPL. He became the highest paid overseas player in the history of the IPL after Rising Pune Supergiant bought him for R14.5 crore (USD 2.16 million approx) last year. And this year too, his name features on the list of 578 players that the IPL announced on Saturday for its mega auction on January 27 and 28 in Bengaluru.

Stokes had an outstanding IPL in 2017 where he scored 316 runs at a strike rate of 142.98, besides scalping 12 wickets with an economy rate of 7.18 in 12 matches. He was adjudged the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.

First Published: Jan 21, 2018 17:34 IST