Quality all-rounders are always in high demand during the IPL auctions, and with Ben Stokes confirming his name to go under the hammer next month in Bengaluru, teams are keen on his signature. As of now, two IPL teams Gujarat Lions and Rising Pune Supergiants have hinted at their interest in Stokes, but they are only expected to go all out if he is available for the entire length of the IPL.
With England set to host Ireland for an ODI series in the first week of May while the IPL 2017 is taking shape, franchises fear that the English players, including Stokes might be called for international duty. Though there are chances that players like Stokes, Jason Roy and Alex Hales may be allowed to play in the IPL for full period, skipper Eoin Morgan may have to report for the England team then.
However, there is no official confirmation from the England and Wales Cricket board on the same, hence IPl 2017 teams are in a spot of bother, pick Stokes or not?
It might be difficult to ignore a quality all-rounder like Stokes, who is one of the best in the business. And he has done wonders to his IPL tag with some incredible performances in the ODI and Test series in India, showcasing that he can deliver with both the bat and ball in such conditions.
Gujarat Lions' CEO Harvinder Singh opened up about their interest on Stokes for IPL 2017 auction, but fears his availability for the entire duration.
"If I told you that we are not looking at him as an option, then that certainly will not be the case. He is definitely an option. But I will not tell you whether he fits into our scheme of things or not. Ideally when you take in a player, you bring him in with the understanding that he will be available for all games," the New Indian Express quoted Singh as saying.
As of now, Dwayne Smith and James Faulkner are their best all-rounders, but if they manage to attain the services of Stokes, the Englishman will be their key star for the tenth edition of the IPL. The Gujarat Lions are not the only teams that will be interested for the Englishman, as Rising Pune Supergiants could provide some tough competition to the Lions, and the two could be involved in a bidding war as well.
"If English players (and Ben Stokes is certainly one) make themselves available for the entirety of the tournament, they are bound to create a flutter or two," RPS' CEO Raghu Iyer said.