New Delhi : Ben Stokes’s failure with the bat is affecting Rajasthan Royals in more ways than one. Not only is he failing with the bat at the top of the order, his presence is also blocking an overseas player, who can be brought in to strengthen the pace bowling where Jofra Archer hasn’t found much support. Every team is allowed to field only four overseas players in the playing XI in the Indian Premier League. Skipper Steve Smith, in-form Jos Buttler and Archer, who is the highest wicket-taker for RR, qualify automatically leaving just one spot for an overseas player. Even Stokes would have qualified automatically, had he performed either with the bat or with ball. He isn’t bowling much – his eight overs failing to produce a wicket and costing dear. With the bat, he has made just 110 runs at an average of 22 in the five matches he has played. His runs have come at a strike rate of 106.79.
Importantly, while he has batted as an opener in all five games, he has failed to use the power-play with his strokeplay. He is yet to hit a six this season. There has been talk among commentators of demoting him down the order and bringing back Buttler up the order. Before he joined the team this season, his compatriot Tom Curran was played in the team. Although Curran proved expensive with the ball, he has a half-century in the three innings of five matches he played in the IPL this season. The other option with the ball is Andrew Tye. The right-arm Aussie pacer, Purple Cap winner with 24 wickets in 2018, was expensive in the only game he played this year, against Delhi Capitals. He conceded 50 runs in his four overs. West Indian fast bowler Oshane Thomas, who impressed with RR last season, is yet to play a game.