Ben Stokes is embracing the challenge of being an opener for the Rajasthan Royals.
The All-rounder has been pushed to the top of the Royals order after arriving late to IPL 2020.
He missed the start of this year’s tournament after travelling back to New Zealand to support his ill father.
However, inconsistent showings from Sanju Samson, Steve Smith, Yashasvi Jaiswal and England teammate Jo Buttler mean Stokes has been handed the role in recent games.
He rewarded the Royals with an unbeaten century against Mumbai Indians last weekend.
“I’m really enjoying this new role. I’d had conversations with Macca (head coach Andrew McDonald) really long ago now. The IPL usually happens earlier in the year, so we had discussions even before that.
“I’m really enjoying the new role. It’s something that I’ve sort of always wanted to slowly and gradually get into,” Stokes told ANI.
Competition for England
The England star is embracing the chance to open for the franchise, which is not something he does for his country.
He added: “In the England team, it’s very tough with the amount quality of batsmen we’ve got, like Jason Roy, Tom Banton, Jonny Bairstow, Alex Hales and all these guys who’re all opening batsmen, so it’s a very hard place to get into. So yeah, really enjoying the opportunity and responsibility I’ve been given here at the Royals,” he said.
Warne Championing Buttler
Despite Stokes’ recent success at the top of the order for RR, Shane Warne can’t believe Buttler isn’t still there.
“I think Buttler should definitely be opening,” The Australian great told Sky Sports' IPL Cricket Show.
“I think Ben can do a job opening the batting, but I would like Ben in the middle overs – that's where he has played all of his cricket and done really well.
“That's not to say Stokes can't open, but Jos to me – if you're picking a world XI, the first one pencilled in is at the top of the order, number one, is Buttler.
“I'm not sure why they've gone away from that. I think Jos has to bat at the top. I think Steven Smith should be the guy that's the backbone of the team in their batting.”
Stokes and Buttler will next be in action when Rajasthan take on KXIP in Abu Dhabi on Friday