How Ben Stokes Turned IPL Frustration into a Blessing in Disguise

Ben Stokes

Despite little playing time this winter in India, the England captain appears slimmer.

Ben Stokes
At the IPL, Stokes ‘worked really hard’ on his fitness.

Ben Stokes’ IPL Fitness Journey

It doesn’t often happen that an England captain compares himself to a Chelsea football player on the eve of the Test summer. The parallel makes sense, given the responsibilities a modern cricketer like Ben Stokes must meet.

A few days after Chennai Super Kings triumphed in an exciting final in Ahmedabad, the allrounder quipped to the press during press engagements at Lord’s, “I played a little bit of a John Terry role winning the IPL.” Despite missing the championship game against Bayern Munich due to suspension, Terry memorably raised the Champions League trophy in 2012 while wearing his full Chelsea uniform. While Ben Stokes did not receive a full yellow card, a player who joined the team for about £1.6 million but only made two appearances will soon receive a winner’s medal. On April 3, the final one occurred.

Ben Stokes has been back in the country for two weeks, and while England was staying at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington for the Ireland Test, he used his phone to watch the Ravi Jadeja-inspired triumph against the Gujarat Titans. After winning a fifth IPL championship, he’ll probably also receive a victory bonus and whatever additional bonuses the owners decide to give the playing group.

Given Stokes’ current situation, Ledley King could be a more appropriate England centre-back to use as a comparison. King, a legendary player for Tottenham Hotspur, endured problems with his left knee throughout his career, which are comparable to those the Test captain has been battling with since 2017. King solved his problem by reducing practice time in between games. Ben Stokes is doing the same.

To limit his bowling between Tests, Ben Stokes has chosen to follow the example of the 40-year-old James Anderson. He hasn’t bowled a single over this week because he thinks his body has much more life left in it than its 31 years.

On Wednesday, he stated, “Before, I didn’t have to worry about it. “I could just bowl continuously and arrive relatively fresh. Since I probably need help to accomplish that, organising everything properly between games is the most crucial aspect.

“The thing about me is that I don’t need much bowling for the rest of my body to tick over. I can have quite a lot of time off and then build up quite quickly. It’s not doom and gloom if I do or don’t bowl in this game.”

Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes did not bowl during England’s Lord’s warm-ups but is prepared to play when needed

He certifies that he is well enough to bowl at Lord’s if necessary and to send down as many overs as required during the Ashes. It significantly improves attitude beyond everything else, even at face value. After the New Zealand series at the end of February, he was depressed by his knee, which in turn was impacting his batting. His net sessions this week indicate that isn’t the case anymore.

Before playing in the IPL, there were worries that Ben Stokes would return from India even more damaged than before, but those worries did not come true. Instead, he used the greatest T20 tournament in the world as a glorified training camp due to a lack of playing time.

Ben Stokes remarked, “I think I would have preferred to be playing.” “I then saw that as an opportunity to train rather than play and then top off as the competition progressed. Once you enter the tournament, it’s like play, travel, and everything else. So, I turned a disappointing situation into a positive one because I could concentrate on adequately being able to train, whether technical stuff with the bat or fitness stuff, things in the gym and being able to focus on something else.

And instead of feeling unhappy that I wasn’t playing, that was an excellent way to get through that extended period. Looking back, you would argue that only playing two games was frustrating, but I could still accomplish something else. Every cloud has a silver lining, so as I sit here, it could have been a blessing in disguise.

The effort was put forward. Ben Stokes’ more prominent cheekbones imply he’s returned to the type of slender physique that distinguished his spectacular year in 2019. You’d never say he was overweight, and not to his face. This summer, he will be more effective as a functional allrounder thanks to the fact that a bowler of his pace will exert around eight times his body weight via his ailing left knee at delivery.

You may view Ben Stokes’ use of the IPL as a training camp as a clumsy win for the game’s ardent traditionalists, but only a player of his calibre has the right to do so, given the game’s current trajectory. His standing with CSK, who want to have him lead them in the future when MS Dhoni decides to retire, was unaffected by his lack of playing time. However, they could reconsider extending it under the same conditions in 2023.

Stokes is an aberration, although a very unique given his circumstances, to have returned prepared for the red ball, even in the absence of a run-out in the County Championship for Durham. Before a home season in which the most extended format is pondering its very survival, as franchise contests increase and encroach on the hitherto sacred ground, Ben Stokes — a self-described “huge advocate of the Test format” — recognises both codes are competing. Nevertheless, not always for the worse.

“The entire environment and the game of cricket are practically changing before everyone’s eyes so swiftly. T20 cricket and Test cricket can continue to thrive and flourish together.

“Take a look at what Twenty20 cricket has done for the game overall, the level of interest it has generated, and the new fans and players it has attracted to the sport, regardless of the format. Additionally, consider the benefits T20 has brought to Test cricket. Although the transition between the two games is very different, you will occasionally see the T20 side emerge during Test matches since the players have been using it. Therefore, I need help seeing a scenario in which T20 and Test matches won’t be played in the future.

He concedes that with the anticipation around the next five-Test series against Australia, dedication to a style of cricket based on avoiding danger and blue-ticking anxiety may be a bit difficult.

He described the suspense as being difficult to ignore and fail to notice. It’s difficult to forgive and be unable to perceive enthusiasm. I am still determining how this Ashes build-up period compares to 2005.

Ireland comes first, though. Even the visitors saw a one-time, four-day match as a diversion given their greater reward for June’s World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe—a warning that notwithstanding any uncertainty about the new world, the old one was everything from equal.

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