Indian Premier League (IPL) side Rajasthan Royals have re-tweeted a video by English county side Durham of Ben Stokes batting at the nets, indicating that the franchise could possibly retain the England all-rounder ahead of the next season of the lucrative league.
The video shows the stylish left-hand batter fluently playing a pull shot and a drive, indicating that he has recovered fully from the finger surgery he underwent to repair a fracture.
Rajasthan Royals tweeted, "Sunday St(r)okes. (Fire symbol). #RoyalsFamily, @benstokes38."
Though it's not official yet, the eight existing IPL teams are likely to retain a maximum of four players and the two new franchises -- Lucknow and Ahmedabad -- will be able to acquire three players from the rest of the player pool via drafts before the 2022 auction. Also, unlike the previous big auction ahead of the 2018 season, there could be no right-to-match cards (RTM) at the auction, likely to be held in January 2022.
The Royals fans were quick to express their views with some saying that Stokes should definitely be retained, while others opined that Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler and Sanju Samson should be in the side for the next season.
Stokes, who has been included in the England squad for the Ashes series beginning at The Gabba, Brisbane on December 8 after a successful finger surgery and overcoming his mental health issues, was forced to leave IPL 2021 after damaging his index finger while taking a catch against Punjab Kings earlier this year in India.
The 29-year-old sustained a fractured finger during RR's opening game and also did not take part in the IPL second leg in the UAE.