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‘Not sure’ about Stokes’ availability: RR coach

 DUBAI, Sept 15: Rajasthan Royals head coach Andew McDonald says the franchise is “not sure” about the availability of star all-rounder Ben Stokes in the upcoming IPL as he is tending to his ailing father in New Zealand. Stokes, hero of England’s World Cup triumph last year, is going through a tough phase. He pulled out of the three-match series against Pakistan in August before the second Test to be with his father, diagnosed with brain cancer.

 “First and foremost, thoughts with the Stokes family. It’s a difficult scenario, so we’re giving him as much time as he needs, and connecting with him as best we can,” McDonald was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. “So yeah, we’re not sure where Stokesy’s at right now, but once it has played out, then we can make our decisions from there. But I don’t want to second-guess what will happen with him just yet.”

Since the first Test against Pakistan, the top all-rounder has not played any cricket. Instead, he travelled to New Zealand, where his parents are settled.

Stokes’ father Ged, a former New Zealand rugby league international, was admitted to hospital in Johannesburg two days before Christmas last year with a serious illness.

Asked about RR skipper Steve Smith, who missed two Australia ODIs with concussion in England, McDonald did not seem too worried. – PTI

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