IPL 2020: Ben Stokes enjoying his stint as an opener for Rajasthan Royals, says he always wanted to open innings

In an interview to PTI, the world’s premier all-rounder spoke about life in a bio-bubble amid the COVID-19 threat and host of other issues including his role as an opener in T20 cricket for Rajasthan Royals.

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“It obviously comes with its challenges, you know being away from the family, being in the same place for a long period of time, it can get a bit monotonous after a certain point of time,” Stokes said.

But he feels that things need to be put in perspective to understand that a little monotony with all comforts puts sportsmen in a better position than a lot of other people.

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“…we would much rather be in a bubble playing cricket and doing what we love than sitting at home not being able to do that. We need to put things into perspective, there are millions in the world suffering a lot more than what we are,” he reasoned.

“Thinking about them when we feel that times are getting tough makes it a little bit easier.” Concerns have been raised about prolonged stay in a bio-bubble with Pakistan coach Misbah-ul-Haq warning of psychological consequences. Stokes conceded that being in a bio-bubble takes away the freedom that the players are so used to.

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“I feel it’s a really challenging thing to go through. Especially, when it’s so far away from what we have been used to for so many years.”

Stokes feels the players owe it to the millions of fans, who support them over years and the least they can do is put up a performance that is watchable on television.

“Being in a bio-secure bubble takes away that freedom that we are used to but looking at the bigger picture, it’s a responsibility that we have on our shoulders as professional cricketers and athletes to keep the game going on the TV screens.

“Giving the fans the entertainment that they want,” he said. Coming to cricket, Stokes, who hit a magnificent hundred against Mumbai Indians, is enjoying the role of an opener, something he is unable to do in a packed English top-order.

“Yeah, I am really enjoying this new role. I have had conversations with Macca (coach Andrew McDonald) really long ago now, the IPL usually happens earlier in the year, so we had discussions even before that. I am really enjoying the new role,” said the hero of England’s 2019 World Cup triumph. Stokes made it clear that he always wanted to open the innings.

“It is something that I have sort of always wanted to slowly and gradually get into. “In the England team, it’s very tough with the amount of quality of batsmen we have got, like Jason Roy, Tom Banton, Jonny Bairstow, Alex Hales and all these guys who’re all opening batsmen, so it’s a very hard place to get into. “So yeah, really enjoying the opportunity and responsibility I’ve been given here at the Royals,” he added.

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