In a surprising turn of events, Ben Stokes, the dynamic English all-rounder, has opted out of the 2024 Indian Premier League (IPL), citing the need for knee surgery. Notably, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) has released Stokes from their squad, showing solidarity with his decision.
Stokes, who played a minor role in CSK’s triumphant 2023 season with only two appearances and a modest performance, is now set on recovering fully before England’s demanding Test series in India. Aakash Chopra, former Indian cricketer and cricket analyst, speculates that even if Stokes were available, CSK might not have retained him due to concerns about his fitness and the hefty ₹16.25 crores price tag. Chopra expressed his doubts about other franchises investing in Stokes given his recent injury woes.
“Ben Stokes has declared his non-participation in the IPL. Were Chennai going to retain him? That’s a big question. In my opinion, they weren’t going to do so. Would any other team have bought him for 16.25 crores? My two cents – it was not going to happen,” Chopra asserted on his YouTube channel.
Stokes’s absence, coupled with the retirement of Ambati Rayudu after the 2023 season, has opened up a substantial portion of CSK’s budget. This financial flexibility gives CSK the opportunity to revamp their strategy for the upcoming season.
In addition to Stokes, CSK has released other players, including Kyle Jamieson from New Zealand and South Africa’s Dwaine Pretorius. Sisanda Magala from South Africa and domestic players Bhagath Varma, Subhranshu Senapati, and Akash Singh have also been let go. With these moves, CSK now possesses a budget of ₹31.4 crores for the 2024 season.
Teams faced a November 26 deadline for announcing retained and released players, but player trading remains open until December 12. The player auction for the 2024 season is scheduled for December 19 in Dubai, providing franchises with additional opportunities to fine-tune their squads before the competition kicks off. Stay tuned as CSK and other teams gear up for a strategic overhaul in the pursuit of IPL glory.