‘He’s not there yet’ – Stephen Fleming on Ben Stokes’ bowling fitness


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After losing to Gujarat Titans in the opening game of IPL 2023, Chennai Super Kings are in a tough spot at the moment. Their bowling looked pale while the first-ever impact player, Tushar Deshpande, leaked 51 runs in just 3.2 overs. On top of that, Moeen Ali and Shivam Dube didn’t bowl in the first match as skipper MS Dhoni had only five options on his hands.

England international Ben Stokes can change that but he is not yet fit to bowl at the moment. However, CSK head coach, Stephen Fleming, shared an update on the all-rounder and stated that the 31-year-old is progressing well but he is not 100% ready at the moment. However, he expects him to recover quickly and start bowling soon.

“He’s progressing well. He had a fair time off between the last Test match and getting here. And he had some medical work done on the knee. We want to do the right thing by making sure that he’s 100 percent 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.

Really happy with what he’s done so far. I think he feels pretty positive about the progress he’s made. That’s another addition to the side – when he starts bowling. We’ve got some good players to come in and we’ve introduced some players today. So not all bad,” Fleming said in the post-match conference.

Fleming opens up about CSK’s batting against GT

Meanwhile, with the bat, CSK started really well as Ruturaj Gaikwad gave them a perfect start. The 26-year-old smashed 92 runs off just 50 deliveries but unfortunately, the middle order couldn’t capitalise as the MS Dhoni-led side posted 178 runs on board after 20 overs. Speaking about the same, Fleming mentioned that the team could have scored 190+ runs in the match but they struggled to get going in the 12-16 over period.

“We thought we were a little bit short. Ruturaj played a great hand, but around him, we just didn’t capitalize on the couple of positions we got into. They bowled well from 12 to 16 overs and we couldn’t get that final push that we needed.“180 is a good score, but we were in a position where we could have got 190-200. We were probably a little big match underdone,” Fleming stated.


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