IPL 2020: I always wanted to open, says Ben Stokes

Filed on October 30, 2020
Ben Stokes and Sanju Samson after Rajasthan Royals' win over Mumbai Indians. (IPL)

Stokes says it helps when the leadership group has faith in the abilities of a player

Ben Stokes joined the Rajasthan Royals unit after their first few games in the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). While he started off slowly, he hit a magnificent century in their last game against Mumbai Indians to take his team home against the top-ranked team in the competition. More than the win, that knock helped silence a lot of people who had been questioning his position in the line-up and if he was the right choice to open the innings despite RR having Jos Buttler in the squad.

Speaking to ANI, Stokes threw light on opening the batting, having one of the best foreign contingent in the competition, adapting to the bubble and most importantly focusing on the process rather than just results.

Having failed to shine in his first few games as an opener, Stokes saw pundits debating his batting number. But the all-rounder says he spoke about his role with the head coach Andrew McDonald and team management way before the season got underway.

“Yeah, I’m really enjoying this new role. I’d had conversations with Macca 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,” he said.

“In the England team, it’s very tough with the amount of 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.

But the start wasn’t great and Stokes says it helps when the leadership group has faith in the abilities of a player.

“Having the backing from people making decisions is obviously a big help. Played a lot of cricket and I understand myself as a person now and don’t let it get me down too much. The saying you are as good as your next game is brilliant. Whether you do well or badly, you still got to focus on the next game. If you do well one game doesn’t mean you will do well the next game,” he explained.

Asked about the lack of consistency from the foreign stars barring Jofra Archer, Stokes admitted that doing consistently well is important for a team to succeed. He added that David Millers not finding a place in the XI also speaks about the talent in the squad.

“I think that proves that the squad we have got, just the depth and the versatility we have got is incredible.”

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