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IPL 2018: Rajasthan Royals wait on costliest buy Ben Stokes to fire

Ben Stokes, who was bought for Rs 12.5 crore by Rajasthan Royals, has failed to fire in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 so far. In four matches, the England cricketer has scored 62 runs and has taken one wicket for 78 runs at an economy rate of 9.75

cricket Updated: Apr 19, 2018 22:24 IST
Bihan Sengupta
Bihan Sengupta
Hindustan Times, Pune
Chennai Super Kings,Rajasthan Royals,IPL 2018
Rajasthan Royals’ Ben Stokes is yet to do justice to his Rs 12.5 crore price tag at the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018.(AP)

There’s one thing Ben Stokes has failed to live up to in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 so far, and that is the description on the official Rajasthan Royals website: “Signed for 12.5 crore, he promises to be worth every rupee.”

Four matches, 62 runs, one wicket for 78 runs at an economy rate of 9.75. Royals’ performances haven’t been regal so far, and besides other reasons, the England all-rounder’s below-par show is surely one.

READ | IPL 2018: Why Rajasthan Royals hired Ben Stokes for Rs. 12.5 crore

Given the 26-year-old’s stature and the mammoth sum splurged on him, it’s difficult for any side to leave him on the bench. He’s a top all-rounder, has a century in the shortest format of the game and can be a potent option for bowling four overs. On his day, Stokes is a go-to option for any captain.

However, so far his captain hasn’t made him bowl his quota of overs in a single game. Even with the bat, he’s let the team down, especially when it seemed the stage was set for him to take over. While his lackadaisical approach has seen him gift his wicket away, Royals unfortunately don’t have players with the international experience of Stokes to rest him.

Seeking rhythm

0It’s still early days and Royals will hope the England player finds his rhythm sooner than when it wouldn’t matter anymore. At the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune, his home ground last season with the erstwhile Rising Pune Supergiant, the chances of his coming good increases manifold. It was here in IPL 2017 that he slammed a 63-ball 103 to bail out his side after they were reeling at 10/3 chasing 161 against Gujarat Lions.

READ | IPL 2018: Sanju Samson special hands Rajasthan Royals win over Royal Challengers Bangalore

At a personal level too, Stokes has a lot to prove. With the Bristol brawl last September scarring his reputation and forcing him to miss games for England, especially the Ashes, IPL is a perfect platform to regain what’s lost, and prove his worth. The New Zealand tour ahead of IPL was extremely average with one half-century each to show in the Test and ODI series, besides five wickets in the 50-over format.

First Published: Apr 19, 2018 18:23 IST