England skipper Ben Stokes has confirmed that he will not be available for the latter part of the upcoming IPL season, in order to focus on England’s red-ball fixtures, with all eyes on the Ashes this year. The all-rounder was picked by the four-time IPL winning side, Chennai Super Kings (CSK), who shelled a massive INR 16.25 crore to acquire his services.
England are set to play Ireland before the Ashes series, and Stokes has indeed insisted that he would want to be part of the extended preparations. The all-rounder has led the side to 10 wins in 11 games, with just the one draw since he took over as the captain of the national side in the red-ball format.
"Yes, I'll play," Stokes answered when asked if he will play the Ireland Test. "I'll be making sure that I give myself enough time to get back and play that [Ireland] game."
"I'll probably get round the individuals and ask them what they want to be ready for for the Ashes, because those five games are obviously the big ones of the summer, and you've got to think about what lads want. But what if something was to happen in that game [Ireland] and we lose someone for the Ashes,” he added.
“It's just one of those where you have to weigh up the options of what the individual person actually wants out of that week, versus do we really need to play that one. Because, obviously, I'm right in saying that series is bigger than that game against Ireland."
Ahead of the second Test, Stokes confirmed that England will be playing with their full-strength squad, but changes are only likely if any individual isn’t 100% fit to take part.
"If we have got a couple of people who are a bit sore, or bowlers who don't feel like they are 100 percent right to go, then I will still be picking my best team because I will be picking the XI who are able to play," Stokes said.