Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India], April 1 (ANI): Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will wait for all-rounder Ben Stokes to be "100 per cent ready" before he is utilised as a bowler in this season as he continues to manage a long-time knee injury.
Stokes will start the IPL as a specialist batter following a cortisone injection in his left knee. He wants to ensure full fitness in order to play a vital part as a skipper in England's Ashes series at home against Australia, which will start from June 16.
Stokes was brought for Rs 16.25 crore at the IPL auction last year. He could manage only seven runs on his CSK debut and batted at number four against Gujarat Titans on Friday.
Speaking at the post-match press conference, Fleming said Stokes was "progressing well" and added that the all-rounder took steps towards full fitness in the month since England's second Test in New Zealand.
"He had a fair amount of time off between the last Test match and getting here, and he had some medical work done on the knee. We want to do the right thing by Ben and make sure that he's 100 per cent ready to go," said Fleming as quoted by ESPNCricinfo.
"He is not there yet and that includes bowling form. We are working closely with him, but he is making really good progress. We are really happy with what he has done so far and I think he feels pretty positive about the progress he has made," concluded Fleming.
CSK used only five bowlers in their loss to GT. Moeen Ali and Shivam Dube were not utilised as bowlers. The four-time champions will soon have Sri Lanka duo of Maheesh Theekshana and Matheesha Pathirana available after completion of international duty, Fleming said that Stokes' return to fitness will be a boost to the side.
"That's another addition to the side, when he starts bowling. We have got some good players to come in, and we have introduced some players today, so it is not all bad," concluded Fleming.
Coming to the match, CSK posted 178/7 in their 20 overs after being put to bat first by GT. They were largely powered by knocks from Ruturaj Gaikwad (92 off 50 balls, with four boundaries and nine sixes) and Moeen Ali (23 off 17 balls, four boundaries and a six). Rashid (2/26), Mohammed Shami (2/29) and Alzarri Joseph (2/33) were among the pick of the bowlers for GT.
GT chased down the total with 19.2 overs. Opener Shubman Gill continued with his red-hot form, scoring 63 in 36 balls consisting of six fours and three sixes. Wriddhiman Saha (25), Sai Sudarshan (22) and Vijay Shankar (27) also made some viral contributions. They ended at 182/5.
Rajvardhan Hangargekar (3/36) was the pick of the bowlers for CSK. Tushar Deshpande and Ravindra Jadeja took a wicket each.
Brief scores: GT 182/5 in 19.2 overs (Shubman Gill 63(36), Vijay Shankar 27(21)and Hangargekar 3/36)vs CSK 178/7 in 20 overs (Ruturaj Gaikwad 92, Moeen Ali 23; Rashid Khan 2/26). (ANI)