Stokes to start as specialist batter in IPL 2023: Hussey

Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes has had an injection in his troublesome left knee. File photo: Reuters/Akhtar Soomro

England captain Ben Stokes is set to start his Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign with Chennai Super Kings (CSK) as a specialist batter after having an injection in his troublesome left knee, the team's batting coach Mike Hussey said.

With the Ashes series against Australia less than three months away the all-rounder had a cortisone injection, which can help relieve pain and inflammation, before the start of the IPL season.

The knee issue has long bothered Stokes, 31, and it had him grimacing in pain throughout the drawn two-Test series with New Zealand. He bowled only two overs in England's one-run defeat in the second Test.

"My understanding is he's ready to go as a batsman from the start. The bowling might be wait and see," former Australia batter Hussey told cricket news website Cricinfo on Tuesday.

"I know he had his first very light bowl this week since he had his injections in his knee. The physios from Chennai and the ECB (England & Wales Cricket Board) are working pretty closely together.

"My understanding is he won't be bowling much at all in the first few games of the tournament ... it might be a few weeks. I'm not 100 per cent sure, (but we will) hopefully get him bowling at some stage in the tournament."

Stokes has already said he will leave the IPL early to prepare for a one-off Test against Ireland at Lord's from June 1 and the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston, which starts on June 16.

Four-time champions CSK will face holders Gujarat Titans in the IPL season-opener on Friday.

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