All-rounder Ben Stokes insists he harbours no regret over missing the Indian Premier League (IPL) final after being forced to report for England duty at their training camp in Andalucia.
Stokes was named the IPL’s most valuable player after snaring 12 wickets and scoring 316 runs following a bid of £1.7m from Rising Pune Supergiant, which elevated the 25-year-old to the status of the tournament’s most expensive foreign player.
But he was absent on Sunday as Rising Pune Supergiant lost to Mumbai Indians by a single run after joining his England team-mates in Spain prior to the first one-day clash of a three-match series against South Africa at Headingley tomorrow.
The policy of England cricket chiefs to request Stokes leave India prior to the conclusion of the tournament was denounced by ex-international captain Kevin Pietersen.
“There was a lot of stuff around saying I should have been able to play but it was agreed from the start,” said Stokes. “It was an amazing experience but I wasn’t too disappointed that I wasn’t out there playing. Playing for England is always the main priority in decisions like that.”
Stokes, who scored his maiden Twenty20 century with an unbeaten knock of 103 against Gujarat Lions, believes more England players featuring in the IPL would be nothing but advantageous.
“It would be great in future if maybe the whole England team could be out there,” added Stokes. “It’s not just the fact of playing in the tournament, it’s the exposure you get as a player.”
Aside from Stokes, Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler, who were also given dispensation to miss the one-dayers earlier this summer to play in the IPL, will return against South Africa.