IPL 2020: Rajasthan Royals coach opens up on availability of star all-rounder Ben Stokes
Rajasthan Royals will start their Indian Premier League (IPL 2020) campaign against Chennai Super Kings in Sharjah on September 22. While the preparations have been on in full swing, there is still a big piece of the jigsaw that’s missing for the team.
Star all-rounder Ben Stokes, who was expected to play a big role for the team in this campaign is yet to join the team as he has had to go to New Zealand to visit his ailing father. The Royals camp is keeping its fingers crossed about Stokes’ availability but coach Andrew McDonald doesn’t want to keep second-guessing the situation.
“First and foremost, thoughts with the Stokes family. It’s a difficult scenario, so we’re giving him as much time as he needs, and connecting with him as best we can. So yeah, we’re not sure where Stokesy’s at right now, but once it has played out, then we can make our decisions from there. But I don’t want to second-guess what will happen with him just yet,” McDonald told ESPNCricinfo during an interview.
The other big international that RR have is Australia’s Steven Smith and he too was injured during the ongoing limited overs series in England. But McDonald said he is not worried about injuries
“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].
“You’re going to have other moving parts throughout the tournament. There will be injuries, fatigue, all sorts of things. So while there’s speculation around where Smudger’s at, and Stokesy, we feel we’ve got some good coverage to be able to play different ways.
“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,” he added.