Former Australia all-rounder Andrew McDonald, who is currently the head coach of the Rajasthan Royals, threw some light on the availability of talismanic all-rounder Ben Stokes in this year’s IPL, stating that the franchise will take a decision according to the eventual situation for the England all-rounder.
Speaking to ESPNCricinfo, McDonald, when quizzed on the same, said, “First and foremost, thoughts with the Stokes family. It’s a difficult scenario, so we’re giving him as much time as he needs, and connecting with him as best we can. So yeah, we’re not sure where Stokes is at right now, but once it has played out, then we can make our decisions from there. But I don’t want to second-guess what will happen with him just yet.”
Ben Stokes had to depart for New Zealand midway through the Test series against Pakistan to give company to his father Ged, who has been diagnosed with brain cancer.
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When asked about whether Steven Smith’s missing out on two ODIs against England due to concussion has raised concerns within the Rajasthan Royals camp, McDonald said, “Steve Smith is a bit more clear-cut, I think. He needs a little bit of time, it was a short turnaround between games one and two where the concussion happened, so I’d imagine there were some lingering side effects. They’ll be erring on the side of caution, so hopefully, (they will) see him out there again on Wednesday (3rd ODI against England in Manchester).
“You’re going to have other moving parts throughout the tournament. There will be injuries, fatigue, all sorts of things. So while there’s speculation around where Smudger’s at, and Stokes, we feel we’ve got some good coverage to be able to play different ways.”
McDonald, who had been a part of the Delhi Capitals between 2009 to 2011 (then Daredevils) and the Royal Challengers Bangalore for the 2012 and 2013 editions of the IPL as a player, also talked about the leadership group of the franchise. He said, “Steve Smith is clearly the captain, but it’s great to have other guys in supporting roles, with the ability to think on their feet when things don’t go to plan.
“We’ve got some really good minds out there, and they’re all different as well which is great. If you’ve got guys that all think similarly, then sometimes you probably get the same result.
“But we’ve got Sanju (Samson), who thinks differently to Smudge, who thinks differently to (Robin) Uthappa. And there’s Jos, a fantastic player who’s had a fantastic summer for England, and there are no surprises in him performing at the level that he does.”