Ben Stokes getting ready for IPL despite likely virus shutdown

Ben Stokes getting ready for IPL despite likely virus shutdown

XtraTime Web Desk: England cricket team’s star all-rounder Ben Stokes has started his preparation for Indian Premier League (IPL), despite of knowing that the tournament is unlikely to go ahead.

Stokes plays for Rajasthan Royals franchise in the cash rich league and he is among those 13 English cricketers who are set to play IPL.

But due to COVID-19 pandemic the BCCI has already pushed the date until April 15 and currently the nation has entered a three-week lockdown in a bid to contain the spread on Wednesday.

“At the moment my next competitive cricket is going to be in the IPL,” Stokes told the BBC on Wednesday. “That hasn’t changed yet so I have to think I will be playing on April 20.”

Last week, the England and Wales Cricket Board announced that the English county season would not start until at least the end of May, while England’s tour of Sri Lanka was also postponed due to the virus.

With IPL chiefs yet to call off or further delay their event, Stokes has to continue to keep himself in shape to play in the unlikely event he is asked to travel to India.

“I have to get my head round that I am playing even though in the back of my mind I know I am probably not,” he added.

“I have to build up and get myself physically in a position that if it does happen I am good to go. I cannot take three weeks off and expect the body to be ready for April 20 because it doesn’t work like that. It might happen and if it does I don’t want to be behind.

“There will be a lot of advice given to us and if it was an option to go we will have to take the sensible one.”

Stokes said England’s players were initially shocked when the two-Test Sri Lanka tour was cancelled. But the 28-year-old is well aware it was the right thing to do in the circumstances.

“Everyone was shell-shocked for half an hour in the changing room. It was such a weird feeling because we had been there for 10-12 days. We were building up to the first Test and then we were going home,” Stokes said.

“But when you put everything together in terms of where the world was with the coronavirus, and what was being said on tour, it was the wrong place to be at that time and everyone’s health is more important than anything else in the world.”

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