Will Ben Stokes join Rajasthan Royals for the ongoing Indian Premier League 2020 or not? That’s the big question surrounding the RR franchise, and their mentor Shane Warne has provided an update.
England all-rounder Stokes is in New Zealand currently with his family, having gone there last month to be with his father who was diagnosed with brain cancer.
“Hopefully, Ben Stokes would play a part this year, he’s a big loss and our thoughts are with him, but you know, add Ben to the team that played the other night and it looks a very, very good side," Warne had told PTI ahead of their game against KKR on Wednesday, which they lost.
Stokes had also missed the last two Tests of the series against Pakistan and the entire limited-overs home series against Australia for the same reason. Stokes’ addition, if and when it happens, will be a huge boost for RR as they are top-heavy.
RR are top heavy because captain Steve Smith has decided to open the batting. He made two consecutive half-centuries in Sharjah before failing against KKR, falling to Pat Cummins in the second over. Smith at the top meant there was no experience in the middle overs, but Warne believes this is a good move.
“I liked it, him (Smith) coming to open the innings," said Warne. “I am always a big believer in your best player having the opportunity to face the most amount of deliveries, so for me you know Jos Buttler, Steve Smith and Sanju are one, two and three, respectively.
“Steve Smith and Andrew McDonald might have different ideas but I would always want my best players facing the maximum number of balls. We’ve got so many good players who could play so many different roles, but I personally like Steve Smith at the top."
RR play RCB next in Abu Dhabi on October 3.