Star all-rounder Ben Stokes has announced that he will leave the Indian Premier League (IPL) early in order to prepare for the upcoming one-off test against Ireland in June and the Ashes series against Australia. Stokes, who skipped last year's IPL, was sold to Chennai Super Kings for a massive $1.96 million in December's auction.
The IPL final is set to take place on May 28, while England will host Ireland in a one-off test at Lord's from June 1 and begin their home Ashes campaign in Edgbaston on June 16. Stokes has confirmed that he will play in the Ireland match and will ensure that he has enough time to get back and participate.
Stokes indicated that he will talk to his England teammates who have been picked up by IPL franchises to decide if they also want to play in the Ireland match or if they prefer to focus on preparing for the Ashes series. He believes that it's important to consider what each individual player wants out of that week and whether they need to play in the Ireland match.
According to England's managing director of men's cricket, Rob Key, it is becoming increasingly challenging for non-contracted players to turn down "life-changing" deals from franchises in order to play bilateral cricket. Key acknowledged that it is currently not feasible to have England's strongest team available for every match and that players who are not on central contracts can earn a significant amount of money by participating in the IPL.