Ben Stokes to miss IPL with broken finger

·2-min read

England's Ben Stokes is out of this season's Indian Premier League after Rajasthan Royals announced the all-rounder had suffered a broken finger in their season-opener against Punjab Kings.

The incident on Monday night 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.

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, did not bowl for the remainder of the innings in Mumbai.

He 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."

Stokes, who has broken fingers in his right hand on more than one occasion in the past, is seen as instrumental to England's hopes in both the T20 World Cup - and Ashes - later this year.

The possibility of being unable to call upon Stokes for the rest of this edition of the IPL is a desperate blow for the Royals, who are already without England paceman Jofra Archer for the early stages of the competition.

Archer has been given the nod to return to light training after surgery to remove a fragment of glass from his finger last month but his level of involvement in this year's IPL remains unclear.

The ECB has set no timetable on Archer's playing comeback, only revealing on Tuesday morning that the 26-year-old will work closely this week with his county, Sussex, and the country's medical teams.