Chennai Super Kings is expected to decide on the future of England all-rounder Ben Stokes after consulting captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni once the World Cup ends.
Contrary to speculations that the franchise has released Stokes ahead of the the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction for next season, top sources in the franchise have confirmed to Sportstar that “only Dhoni will take a call” on the matter after November 20, when he is expected to meet the owners and the top management.
Sources also indicated that the team management has been in conversation with Stokes’ manager over his availability for the next season. However, it is still not clear whether Stokes will be available for the entire season.
With the deadline for the releasing the names of retained players getting extended to November 26, the franchise has more than 10 days to decide.
Last year, in a season where CSK won a record-equalling fifth IPL title, Stokes featured in just two games due to a knee injury. This year, Stokes inconsistent form in the World Cup has raised questions on his fitness.
While CSK is expected to retain most of its players, including Ajinkya Rahane, Mitchell Santner and Maheesh Thekshana, the franchise might look for replacements in the middle order after Ambati Rayudu retired following the last season.
The IPL auction will be held at the Coca Cola Arena in Dubai on December 19 and each team will have a purse of Rs 100 crore – a rise from last year’s purse of Rs 95 crore.
Initially, the BCCI had planned to release the list of retained players on November 19, but with the World Cup in progress, it has been pushed back by a week. This will be the third and the final year of the three-year-contract for each player with a mega-auction expected next year.