England Test captain Ben Stokes, who plays for Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League (IPL), has opted out of the 2024 edition to manage his workload and fitness.
In a statement on CSK's website, they expressed support for Ben's decision. However, Super Kings haven't confirmed whether they'll release Stokes from their roster. The IPL has set November 26 as the deadline for franchises to declare their retentions and releases for the 2024 season. If Stokes isn't released, the Super Kings will retain the option to keep him ahead of the mega auction for IPL 2025.
Stokes had mentioned post the World Cup that he would undergo knee surgery, a step he had postponed. His return timeline will depend on his rehabilitation, with decisions to be made in collaboration with the ECB.
During the 2023 IPL season, Stokes, who was the most expensive purchase for Super Kings at INR 16.25 crore (approximately US$ 1.98 million), played only two games due to injury, scoring 15 runs and bowling just one over. His left knee injury, aggravated during England's tour of New Zealand in February, had limited his participation.
Super Kings' coach, Stephen Fleming, had previously stated the team's intention to wait until Stokes was fully fit before asking him to bowl.
Stokes emerged as one of England's standout batters in the recent World Cup in India after returning from ODI retirement. Despite England's challenging tournament, he contributed significantly, playing six out of nine games and ending as their second-highest run-scorer, trailing Dawid Malan. Notably, Stokes, who didn't bowl in the tournament, amassed 304 runs across six innings, including two half-centuries and a century, with scores of 64 (vs Australia), 108 (vs Netherlands), and 84 (vs Pakistan), averaging 50.66 at a strike rate of 89.14.
Presently, Stokes, England's Test captain, aims to join the squad for the five-Test series in India, scheduled from January 25 to March 11.
"I've put a lot of hard work in away from cricket to give myself the best chance of a quicker recovery and, with Christmas and everything coming up, the main thing for me is getting this knee right and being ready and raring to go for that Test series in India," Stokes had said after England's last game at the World Cup.