Cumbria's Ben Stokes to miss rest of Indian Premier League with broken finger

Ben Stokes, February 2021. Credit: PA

England's Ben Stokes will miss the rest of this year's Indian Premier League after Rajasthan Royals announced the all-rounder suffered a broken finger in their season-opener against Punjab Kings on Monday night.

The incident is thought to have happened when Stokes completed a catch in the deep to see off veteran opener Chris Gayle, diving forwards to cling on in the 10th over as he made amends for his earlier drop of the powerhouse West Indies batsman.

But Stokes shook his left hand in distress after climbing back to his feet before briefly leaving the field for treatment and, having already sent down one over, he did not bowl for the remainder of the innings in Mumbai.

The Cockermouth cricketer then registered a three-ball duck as the Royals crashed to a narrow four-run defeat, which has been compounded by the news Stokes will now be sidelined for the rest of this year's tournament.

The Royals said on Twitter: "Ben Stokes has been ruled out of the IPL following a broken finger in last night's game. He will stay with the Royals and support the rest of the group in the upcoming matches."

England's next assignment is seven weeks away and Stokes' availability for two Tests against New Zealand in June was uncertain because of his IPL commitments, so there is no almost no chance of the 29-year-old being rushed back.

An England and Wales Cricket Board spokesperson said: "We are aware (of Stokes' injury) and he will be assessed over the coming days on the extent of the seriousness of the injury. At that point we will confirm the next steps.

"In addition, ECB medical and our UK hand specialist consultant are both involved."