Rajasthan Royals all-rounder Ben Stokes will miss the remainder of the 2021 Indian Premier League through injury.
The England star suffered a broken finger on his left hand in the very first game of this year’s tournament.
He picked up the injury against Punjab Kings when diving to take a catch in the outfield off Chris Gayle.
A statement from Rajasthan Royals said: “Subsequent investigations revealed that he sustained a broken finger, which will unfortunately rule him out of the remainder of the Indian Premier League 2021 season”.
Despite the injury, Stokes will be staying with the team to offer support for the rest of the competition.
The statement continued: “Everyone at Rajasthan Royals absolutely admires Ben for being such a huge asset and a valuable member of the Royals family, both on and off the field, and wishes him a speedy recovery.
“We are delighted that Ben would like to stay with the group to provide his valued support and inputs off the field. In the meantime, we will be reviewing potential replacement options for the remainder of the season.”
Another Blow for Rajasthan
The loss of Stokes is a big blow for the Royals after they had already lost pace bowler Jofra Archer.
He had been used as an opener in the clash with Punjab and team officials now have more big choices to make.
Jos Buttler could be pushed back up the order for this Thursday’s clash with Delhi Capitals.
One overseas option for Rajasthan that could be called on is fellow Englishman Liam Livingstone, who can bat in the top order as well as offer some part-time offspin.
Buttler and big buy Chris Morris are first choice picks but Rajasthan also have David Miller, Andrew Tye, Livingstone and Mustafizur Rahman to call on.
Meanwhile, the ECB are apparently aware of the situation with Stokes and will work with the Royals to assess the situation.
The injury is a concern given the packed international programme following the conclusion of IPL 2021.
England are due to face New Zealand in a two-Test series from June 2.
India then visit for a five-Test series later in the summer before attention turns to the T20 World Cup and the Ashes in Australia.