Ben Stokes is likely to play as a specialist batter at the start of the 2023 IPL

Ben Stokes is likely to play as a specialist batter at the start of the 2023 IPL

In order to manage an injury to his left knee, Stokes has undergone a cortisone injection and is likely to play as a specialist batter in the 2023 IPL.

As the costliest signing in an auction for Chennai Super Kings, Stokes has signed for INR 16.25 crore (US$1.9 million at the time). He arrived in India last week and has been training with his new teammates in preparation for their season opener against Gujarat Titans in Ahmedabad on Friday night.

A recurring injury to his left knee has plagued him for years, but he suffered a flare-up while England toured New Zealand last month, bowling only nine overs in two Tests and batting through the pain on the final day.

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Despite admitting that the injury had been "very frustrating" at the end of the tour, Stokes is looking forward to the IPL ahead of this summer's Ashes, which begin on June 16.

He also confirmed he has a specific diagnosis of the issue, which he declined to reveal publicly. However, ESPNcricinfo understands Stokes has taken a cortisone injection ahead of the IPL after a subsequent scan on the knee came back clear.

"I believe he is ready to bat from the start," Mike Hussey, Super Kings' batting coach, told ESPNcricinfo and PA news. "I know he had his first very light bowl yesterday since he had his injections."

It seems that Chennai's physios and the ECB are working pretty closely together. It might take a few weeks for him to bowl much in the first few games of the tournament. I'm not 100% sure, but we hope to get him bowling at some point."

McCullum, England's coach, has publicly emphasized Stokes' ability to "get right for the big moments" and the franchise's "very good medical team". Following their tour to New Zealand, he promised to contact Stephen Fleming, the head coach of the Super Kings and his former international teammate.

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Stokes has previously indicated that he will consider returning early from the IPL in order to prepare for England's Test against Ireland at Lord's from June 1 - four days after the IPL final - and has already spoken to Hussey about his excitement for the Ashes series, his first as England captain.

As an Australian, Hussey laughed, "I hope he bowls at least 20 or 30 overs in the nets." I'll make sure he does extra weight sessions and run-throughs to put as much pressure on that body as possible... I'm kidding, obviously.

Despite the fact that the franchise is very professional, works closely with all the national boards, and I know our physio has already worked with the ECB physios, I want Ben Stokes to play his best cricket at the Ashes. "I want to see his best cricket at the Ashes; I want both teams to play their best, and I think the series will be incredible."

Stokes has been "hitting the ball really well" since arriving in India, and Hussey predicts that he will be crucial to the franchise's playoff push, "particularly if we can get him to bowl".

A full home-and-away IPL season will commence on April 3 when Super Kings play their first home game since 2019. "The stadium is amazing: new stands, full capacity," Hussey said.

The big players generally like a big stage and they tend to perform their best on them, and that's what I'm sure Stokesy is going to absolutely love it. I hope it will bring out the best in him once he gets out there in Chepauk Stadium in front of an unbelievably loud crowd."

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