In a strange event, Kolkata Knight Riders captain Eoin Morgan, who is also England’s captain in white-ball cricket, has revealed, rather accidentally, that Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler will open for the Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2021.
Speaking about Ben Stokes remaining underutilized in T20 cricket for England – averaging 20.09 in 34 matches while batting lower in the order – Eoin Morgan, seemingly unintentionally, gave away the Royals’ gameplan of going hard and strong with two of their best batters at the top.
Last season, the inaugural champions struggled for a settled opening pair shuffling the likes of Yashasvi Jaiswal, Robin Uthappa, Steve Smith, Jos Buttler, and Ben Stokes throughout the tournament. Finally, it looks like they will be going with the English duo this season.
“I think the more opportunities we’ve given Jos (Buttler), the better he’s got. It’s very similar to Ben (Stokes). The guys just keep getting better and better.
“So it’s our responsibility and the team’s responsibility to present opportunities for them in the biggest moments of the game. And obviously the two of them will be opening for Rajasthan this year in the IPL. So that’s going to be great to watch,” Eoin Morgan said while speaking with Sky Cricket.
It’s not an area of concern at the moment; it’s actually one of our stronger suits: Eoin Morgan
Ben Stokes didn’t bat at a specific position in the recent T20I series against India as well as he and the skipper interchanged spots, owing to Morgan’s proclivity of starting with alacrity against the pacers, while Stokes needing some time to settle – he was promoted to number 3 in the ODI side.
Eoin Morgan considers Stokes’ adaptability as another strength of his side and feels that the all-rounder only solidifies the middle-order emboldening the top-order batters to bat in a more attacking manner.
“It’s flexible in the fact that he (Stokes) can bat at 4, 5, and 6. We have so many guys that can bat in the top 3, it’s not an area of concern at the moment; it’s actually one of our stronger suits. Ben is such a fantastic player, he always continues to ask how to get better and how to improve, and he will naturally evolve into this unbeatable superstar over the course of his career.
“When you come back to our batting lineup, we need to have that strength and depth in all the areas to win the game. When you throw your two top batsmen at the top, you’re heavily weighted and throwing all your chips at one area of the game, as opposed to trying to space it out. Watching the game unravel, (you need to) try to get your best players in the most important part of the game,” the 34-year-old skipper maintained.