England and Rajasthan Royals all-rounder Ben Stokes has started his 6-day quarantine period and will undergo his first COVID test on Sunday. And if all goes as per plan, the star all-rounder should take the field for Royals’ game against SunRisers Hyderabad in Dubai on October 11. Speaking to ANI, a Rajasthan Royals official said that having landed and gone into immediate isolation, Stokes will have his first round of test on Sunday and should be ready for action for the next weekend encounter against SRH.
“He has started his quarantine phase as soon as he reached the hotel. He will have his first test today and with the 6-day period ending the day we play against Delhi Capitals in Sharjah, we are looking at him playing against SRH. It will also help him get back into the groove as he has been off the field for some time,” the official said.
Asked if he can squeeze into the game against Delhi Capitals on October 9, the official said: “His quarantine period ends that day. So, he comes out and joins the team the next day which is October 10.”
While the English and Australian players who had come in from the bubble in the UK to Dubai had to quarantine for 36 hours, those who headed to Abu Dhabi had to follow the six-day quarantine rule and similarly, Stokes who has come in from New Zealand will have to follow the six-day process before he can join his team.
Stokes joining the team is a huge boost for the Royals as they have lost two of the four games they have played so far, with their game against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Abu Dhabi ending in a defeat on Saturday.
Stokes’ presence in the middle-order will be a big boost for the Royals as their other overseas star Jos Buttler has failed to give them impressive starts, and that has seen the middle-order come under pressure. The likes of Robin Uthappa and Riyan Parag have failed to live up to the expectations, and the middle-order needs a bit of a reshuffle for the Royals.
In fact, the all-rounder is also a clever operator with the ball and can definitely add to skipper Steve Smith’s arsenal when it comes to keeping things tight.
Commenting on the side’s balance, Warne had also a few days back pointed that Stokes coming in would make this team one of the most well-balanced teams in the competition. “Hopefully, Stokes would play a part this year, he’s a big loss and our thoughts are with him, but you know add Ben Stokes to the team that played the other night and it looks a very very good side,” he had told ANI.
Stokes was a part of the series against Pakistan when he came to know of his father’s ill-health and left for New Zealand. “Stokes will leave the UK later this week and travel to New Zealand. He will miss England’s two Test matches against Pakistan at the Ageas Bowl on Thursday 13 August and Friday 21 August,” the ECB had said in a press release on August 9.
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