Chennai Super Kings batting coach Mike Hussey has stated that Ben Stokes will start the 16th season of the Indian Premier League as a batter. Stokes has been nursing a "very frustrating" knee issue for a long time and has taken a cortisone injection - an anti-inflammatory injection that reduces swelling - ahead of the IPL.
"My understanding is he's ready to go as a batsman from the start," Mike Hussey, Super Kings' batting coach, told ESPNcricinfo and PA news. "The bowling might wait and see. I know he had his first very light bowl yesterday [Sunday] since he had his injections in his knee.
"The physios from Chennai and the ECB are working pretty closely together. My understanding is he won't be bowling much at all in the first few games of the tournament… it might be a few weeks. I'm not 100% sure, [but we will] hopefully get him bowling at some stage in the tournament."
While Stokes would start the tournament for CSK, the England Test skipper has admitted that he would leave the tournament early for the Test match against Ireland, which begins at the Lord's from June 1 - just four days after the IPL final. Even Brendon McCullum has stated that he would be in touch with CSK Head Coach Stephen Fleming about Stokes’ injury.
"From an Australian perspective, I'm going to hope he bowls 20 or 30 overs in the nets," Hussey said, laughing. "We'll be running him into the ground and I'll be making sure he does extra weight sessions and run-throughs to put as much pressure on that body… I'm joking, obviously.
"I want a fit Ben Stokes playing his best cricket at the Ashes. This franchise is very professional, works very closely with all the national boards, and I know our physio has already been working with the ECB physios. I want to see his best cricket at the Ashes; I want both teams at their best, going hard at it, and I think it will be an unbelievable series to watch,” Hussey added.
Chennai Super Kings will kick start the summer by playing their first home game since 2019 on April 3 and after a really long time, they would be opening full stands as well.