Amid all the controversies surrounding Ben Stokes at present, former England fast bowler Dominic Cork has insisted that the Rajasthan Royals move to sign the maverick English all-rounder for a whopping INR 12.5 crores is not a risk but a ‘gamble’ that in all likelihood will pay off for the reinstated franchise in the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2018).
For the second year running, Stokes became the highest earner at the mega IPL auction where he was signed by the Rajasthan Royals, who also bought Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer, while also retaining the services of Australian captain Steve Smith prior to the auction.
After being allegedly involved in a late-night brawl outside a nightclub in Bristol, Ben Stokes has not played a game for England since the last summer, with a couple of domestic matches for Canterbury in New Zealand being his only involvement in cricket since then. He has been charged with affray and is due to appear in court later in the month.
Despite all the allegations and lack of substantial match-practice in this time, Dominic Cork believes that the maverick England all-rounder Ben Stokes is worth every bit of the money spent on him at the recent IPL auction.
“It’s a very serious charge but is he the only sporting genius who has made a mistake? Of course he isn’t. We will have to wait to see what comes out of the court,” Dominic Cork told Sky Sports about Ben Stokes.
“But whether he misses two, three or four games, it doesn’t matter to me if I’m the owner of the Royals. If he missed four or five matches, so what? He will still win games in that tournament and get his team-mates up for it. So for me it’s not a risk, the only way it’s a risk is if he doesn’t play at all.”
Isa Guha, a former World Cup winner with the England women’s team, also stated her views on the matter and said that the Rajasthan Royals have taken a calculated gamble in shelling out so much money for getting Ben Stokes on-board for the 11th edition of the IPL.
“Stokes does come with some complications,” she said. “It all depends on the hearing on whether he will be available or not. But Rajasthan took that chance, they do have an English owner which is why I think they went for a few English players. He is a gun player, you can’t get away from that.”
“All-rounders are at a premium at the IPL, he can contribute with the bat and he’s improved with the ball. He was the go-to bowler [for Rising Pune Supergiants] last year, he gives you so much. I wouldn’t be surprised if Steve Smith went to the coach and said ‘I want this guy’.” Guha concluded.