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Sunday, March 29, 2020

Ben Stokes continues IPL preparations despite cancellation threat

"I have to think I will be playing on April 20," said Ben Stokes, who was bought by Rajasthan Royals in the 2018 IPL auction. On the other hand, Jos Buttler hopes for a shortened IPL this year.

By: PTI | London | Updated: March 26, 2020 12:59:25 pm
Ben Stokes plays for Rajasthan Royals since 2018. (Source: IPL)

Ben Stokes continues to train for the 13th IPL even though he is aware that the T20 league may become yet another sporting event to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The league was originally scheduled to start on March 29 in Mumbai but it was postponed to April 15 to contain the spread of the coronavirus, which has claimed more than 19,000 lives across the globe.

“At the moment my next competitive cricket is going to be in the IPL,” Stokes, who was bought by Rajasthan Royals in the 2018 IPL auction for Rs 12.5 crore, told the BBC.

“That hasn’t changed yet so I have to think I will be playing on April 20.”

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had said last week that the 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 dreaded disease.

The number of positive cases in India has surpassed the 600-mark, while 11 deaths have been reported so far, prompting the government to put the country under lockdown till April 14 to halt the spread of the virus.

READ | As India battles coronavirus, BCCI offers ‘friendly’ guide

Given the current circumstances, a cancellation of this year’s IPL looks inevitable.

However, Stokes said he needs to keep working on his fitness to be ready if and when the IPL happens.

“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 said.

“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,” he added.

READ | Amidst lockdown, Sourav Ganguly donates free rice to the needy

BUTTLER HOPING FOR SHORTENED IPL

Jos Buttler in action. (Source: IPL)

Jos Buttler is hoping for at least a curtailed IPL this season, aware that it would be difficult to conduct the “massive tournament” in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

“No news at the moment. We saw, initially, that it was going to be postponed. It’s very hard to see this changing in the immediate future, so I don’t see that as a possibility at the moment,” Buttler said in a SkySports podcast.

“Obviously, it’s such a massive tournament for world cricket, so hopefully some of it can go ahead — perhaps a shortened tournament.”

UK too has put its population under a lockdown and Buttler said the break has given him an opportunity to spend time with his daughter and he tries to do some exercise to keep himself fit.

READ | Glenn Maxwell opens up about his struggles with mental health

“Obviously, very strange circumstances, but it’s actually quite nice to spend some time at home, be with our little girl and actually just be a dad for a bit. I’ve also been doing some Pilates with my missus, in my cricket gear,” he said.

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