From being the most costliest buy of the season to proving his worth, Ben Stokes, contributed in each and every way in Rising Pune Supergiant’s success this season. Pune, who had finished seventh in the previous edition, had a shaky start to the season. However, they later managed to turn around their fortunes and finish second in the league stage.
After registering a nine-wicket over Kings XI Punjab, Steve Smith-led Pune set semifinal clash with Mumbai Indians. With everything going in their way, Pune will now have to find a possible option, who can fit into Stokes’ boots.
“I think it’s pathetic. An absolute shambles. Stokes should be playing in the semi-final, and the final. The last week of the IPL is a huge occasion. Just speak to him, speak to Jos Buttler, they’ll talk about how much it has helped their development being out there. What are they going to Spain for? To field a couple of balls? He should be playing in the IPL,” former England batsman Kevin Pietersen said as he raised questions on the ECB’s decision.
The English all-rounder will not be available for the knockout stage as he has to join the national team ahead of their bilateral ODI series against South Africa.
“I’m going to be in Mumbai for the semi-final on Tuesday and I’m excited by that as a commentator – that stadium is electric. It’s only going to be benefiting English cricket for that bloke to be playing on Tuesday, getting his team to a final on Sunday, and then possibly lifting the trophy. He is the kind of player that could do that.”
Stokes was regular in Pune’s playing XI this season while opener Jos Buttler, who plays for Mumbai Indians, missed couple of matches as Mumbai tried West Indies’ batsman Lendl Simmons. Keeping in mind that the right-handed batsman won’t be with the franchise post league games.
“Cash is one thing, and I know in this country they like to talk cash, cash, cash with IPL, but for his development – have a look at the tweet that Buttler put out last night, how much he loved the experience – playing with those players, coached by Mahela Jayawardene.”
— Jos Buttler (@josbuttler) 13 May 2017
“It’s just incredible for your learning and your development as a player to play in these conditions. I promise you, you can learn a heck of a lot from playing in India. The one thing that all international players learn from is the ability to go to India, to have success in India, to have friends in India, which makes [it easier] travelling the sub-continent – which are big, big tours because the BCCI is where the money is at.”
— KP (@KP24) 14 May 2017
Stokes scored 316 runs in 12 games. He scored his maiden IPL hundred (103) as he helped Pune beat Gujarat Lions. The 25-year old picked up 12 wickets from as many games. While, Buttler scored 272 runs in 10 games with his highest score of 77 came against Kings XI Punjab.
England play three-match ODI series against South Africa as they prepare themselves for the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy. Sam Billings, Tymal Mills, Chris Woakes and Eoin Morgan were also the part of the on-going season of the cash-rich league.
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