Cricketer Ben Stokes has been cleared to feature in the Indian Premier League by the England and Wales Cricket Board, and could now be up for auction for some of the league’s top clubs. Stokes has been unavailable for England since he was arrested for a bust-up outside a Bristol night club in September, and is still awaiting the results of an ongoing police investigation.
2017 has been a difficult year for Ben Stokes. The all-rounder was one of England’s prize assets heading into this year’s Ashes Tests, but rather than dominating headlines for his cricketing prowess, the 26-year-old has found himself the subject of media attention for a series of irresponsible off-field antics.
There has been plenty of speculation over Stokes’ international future over the last few weeks, and it appears that the ECB are not prepared to make any decisions until the former Durham man has been cleared of all criminal charges – including one for actual bodily harm.
It’s not all bad news for Stokes however, with reports that a number of IPL franchises are currently interested in the all-rounder. Stokes was bought by the Rising Pune Supergiants for £1.7 million last February, and with IPL teams given a new salary cap due to broadcasting deals, that figure could well be eclipsed come the end of January 2018.
A number of IPL clubs have announced which players they will be retaining ahead of this months auction, with Steve Smith (Rajasthan Royals), Rohit Sharma (Mumbai Indians), Virat Kohli (Royal Challengers Bangalore), and David Warner (SunRisers Hyderabad) all staying put.
Whether Stokes will sign another lucrative deal in the IPL remains to be seen. What is certain however, is that he will not be part of the ODI squad for the upcoming test in Australia, with batsman Dawid Malan confirmed as a replacement.
An official ECB statement read: “England’s selectors have added Dawid Malan to the one-day international squad for the series against Australia, starting on January 14.
“Ben Stokes will not travel with the group of players leaving the UK on January 2, pending CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) advice on the incident in Bristol in September.
“Should ECB receive formal confirmation that he has either, a) been charged or, b) will face no charges, the ECB board would convene within 48 hours to make a decision on his availability to represent England at that stage.
“ECB can also confirm that Ben Stokes has been given approval to enter the IPL draft and granted a no objection certificate (NOC).”