LONDON (BBC): England Test captain Ben Stokes had an injection in his troublesome left knee before departing for his stint in the Indian Premier League. Stokes, 31, struggled with the long-standing problem in the second Test against New Zealand in February.
He had a scan on his return to the UK and although nothing untoward was revealed, had the injection prior to joining up with Chennai Super Kings.
Chennai meet defending champions Gujarat Titans in Friday’s IPL opener. Super Kings paid £1.6m to sign Stokes in December’s auction. Batting coach Mike Hussey said the all-rounder is likely to play as a specialist batter in the opening stages of the tournament.
“He’s ready to go as a batsman from the start, the bowling might be wait and see. I know he had his first very light bowl this week since he had his injections in his knee,” said the Australian.
“My understanding is he won’t be bowling much at all in the first few games of the tournament, or it might be a few weeks. Hopefully we’ll get him bowling at some stage in the tournament.”
Stokes has previously said he will miss the latter stages of the IPL, which ends on 28 May, in order to prepare for England’s Test against Ireland, beginning on 1 June.
In the second Test against New Zealand, which England thrillingly lost by one run after enforcing the follow-on, Stokes did not bowl and suffered with his knee when batting on the final day.
“I’m not going to lie – it is very frustrating knowing that I’ve got something holding me back in terms of my body,” he said at the time.
England Test coach Brendon McCullum also said that Stokes would not be jeopardising his fitness for the summer’s Ashes series by taking part in the IPL. “I’ve no concerns that the skipper will be totally looked after and I also believe that the Ashes is the script that the skipper is waiting to write, so he’ll be sweet,” said the New Zealander.