Super Kings to wait for Stokes to be '100% ready' before using him as a bowler

Super Kings coach Fleming "pretty positive" about the progress Stokes has made

Ben Stokes wears a pensive look in the nets, IPL 2023, Ahmedabad, March 30, 2023

Ben Stokes wears a pensive look in the nets  •  PTI

Chennai Super Kings will wait for Ben Stokes to be "100% ready" before using him as a bowler this season as he continues to manage a long-standing knee injury, team coach Stephen Fleming confirmed.
ESPNcricinfo revealed this week that Stokes would start the IPL as a specialist batter following a cortisone injection in his left knee ahead of the season, since he wants to ensure he is fit enough to play a full part in this summer's Ashes series as England Test captain.
Stokes, who cost INR 16.25 crore (£1.6 million approx.) at December's IPL auction, made 7 off six balls on his Super Kings debut on Friday night, batting at No. 4 in their defeat to defending champions Gujarat Titans in Ahmedabad.
Speaking in the post-match press conference, Fleming said Stokes was "progressing well" and added that he had taken steps towards full fitness in the month since England's second Test in New Zealand.
"He had a fair amount of time off between the last Test match and getting here, and he had some medical work done on the knee," Fleming said. "We want to do the right thing by Ben and make sure that he's 100% ready to go.
"He's not there yet and that includes bowling form. We are working closely with him, but he's making really good progress. We're really happy with what he's done so far and I think he feels pretty positive about the progress he's made."
Super Kings only used five bowlers in their defeat on Friday night, with Moeen Ali and Shivam Dube both unused. They will soon have Sri Lanka's Maheesh Theekshana and Matheesha Pathirana available after international duty, and Fleming said that Stokes' return to fitness would provide a boost later in the season.
"That's another addition to the side, when he starts bowling," Fleming said. "We've got some good players to come in, and we've introduced some players today, so it's not all bad."