IPL issues advisory to teams vying to bid for Stokes

MUMBAI: The advisory body of the Indian Premier League has announced that a team buying England all-rounder Ben Stokes would be entitled to hire his replacement in case he remains unavailable for the entire duration of IPL. However, if he misses only part of the event, the franchise won’t be eligible to seek his replacement.

According to a report in ESPNcricinfo, IPL advisory made this announcement on Sunday. “Due to the uncertainty regarding court dates and therefore his (Stokes’) availability for the IPL 2018 season, BCCI confirms that if he is completely unavailable in advance of the season he may be replaced under section 6.1 (e) of the 2018-20 IPL Player Regulations,” ESPNCricinfo quoted the IPL as having told the franchises.

“In the event of his partial unavailability due to the court process, then he may not be replaced. Player replacements for partial unavailability during the IPL Season are only allowed in relation to player injuries as prescribed by section 6.1 of the 2018-20 IPL Player Regulations,” the statement added.

In a note addressed to all the eight franchises the IPL also explained that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have already given Stokes a No Objection Certificate while the chances of court case hampering Stokes’ participation in the league are minimal. “The ECB have confirmed they will issue an NOC for Ben Stokes and advised that the Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) will wait for the conclusion of all criminal proceedings relating to the charge against Ben before it runs its independent process.”

“Ben’s legal advisors have advised that they think it highly unlikely that the criminal proceedings will conclude before the end of IPL 2018,” the IPL told the franchises. “They have advised that they do not expect the criminal proceedings will have any impact on Ben’s availability for IPL 2018.”

Questions around Stokes' availability surfaced in the wake of the decision by UK's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to charge England's star all rounder with affray over a fight outside a Bristol nightclub last year. 

The 26-year-old, named player of last year's IPL, and two men from Bristol are due to appear before magistrates at a future date.

Stokes is expected to fetch a huge price at the auction on January 27-28, having set the record of Rs 145 million among international players when he was signed by the Rising Pune Supergiants last year. He has been placed at the maximum reserve price of Rs 20 million for this year's auction.

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