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News

Ben Stokes set to arrive in UAE for IPL 2020 with Rajasthan Royals

Allrounder will arrive early on Sunday and will be in quarantine for six days as per IPL protocols

BCCI

BCCI

England allrounder Ben Stokes is finally headed to the IPL from New Zealand, where he has spent the past month-and-a-half with his family. ESPNcricinfo understands Stokes will land in Dubai, where the Royals are based, early on Sunday.
As per the IPL's Covid-19 protocol Stokes will undergo the mandatory six-day quarantine, including clearing three tests, before he can link up with the Royals and be available for selection.
On Saturday morning Stokes posted a picture with his parents on Instagram, along with a caption titled 'goodbyes never get easier'.
In August, mid-way into the Pakistan Test series, Stokes flew to New Zealand to be alongside his father Ged, who was detected recently with brain cancer. Stokes was granted compassionate leave by the ECB and missed not just the final two Tests and the limited-overs leg of the Pakistan series, but also the six-match white ball series against Australia.
Upon landing in New Zealand, Stokes admitted leaving Pakistan series was the "right thing" he did from the "mental" point of view.
The Royals have not yet commented on Stokes joining the squad, but the franchise has maintained the it would not rush the England allround back and give him "as much time as he wishes" before he was ready to play.
"It's a difficult scenario, so we're giving him as much time as he needs, and connecting with him as best we can," Royals head coach Andrew McDonald had told ESPNcricinfo days before the IPL started.
While in Christchurch, Stokes had been readying for his return to competitive cricket by training with Sydenham Cricket Club, the first cricket club he played at back in New Zealand. "Been great being in Christchurch where it all began," he said in another Instagram post. "Thanks to Sydenham Cricket for letting me use their facilities to bowl in."
Stokes' arrival will shore up a slightly shaky middle order that is currently struggling for consistency. With Steven Smith and Jos Buttler opening the batting, the Royals have had to rely on the relative inexperience of Riyan Parag and Rahul Tewatia in the lower middle order, along with the out-of-form Robin Uthappa.