World Cricket 25.1.2018 11:29 am

Despite court case, Stokes in demand for IPL

Ben Stokes. Photo: Lindsey Parnaby/AFP.

Ben Stokes. Photo: Lindsey Parnaby/AFP.

England’s Ben Stokes could remain the Indian Premier League’s most expensive foreign player despite court proceedings against him when he goes under the hammer at the competition’s glitzy auction this weekend.

Stokes, who went for a record $2.16m to Rising Pune Supergiant last year, is among the top 16 players and will carry a starting price of $312,500 when bidding starts Saturday in Bangalore.

The strong, aggressive all-rounder totted up 316 runs in 12 matches for Pune last year, along with 12 wickets, justifying his hefty price tag — which was a record for a foreign player.

Stokes, 26, has been cleared by the England and Wales Cricket Board to play in the IPL despite facing charges of affray, following a nightclub incident which saw him suspended during the Ashes Test series.

Franchises have an option to release a player midway or give him leave during the tournament, which could give them flexibility if Stokes is absent because of the court case.

Delhi Daredevils CEO Hemant Dua said that Stokes’ legal advisors have also said he will be available for the April 4-May 31 tournament. His first court appearance is on February 13.

“He is an invaluable asset and a prize pick, there is no debate about that. On his day he can knock it out of the park,” Dua said.

“Yes, he has got a legal case announced against him, so he has to go through that. But his legal advisors have said he is available and there wouldn’t be any problem for him.

“But again you are not just buying him for this year you are looking at the next year or longer. So all those things put together the teams will weigh in to get him.”

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