England all-rounder Ben Stokes has revealed his reason for skipping the IPL 2022 mega auction, saying that Test cricket is his number one priority. Stokes further added that he wants to work with England Test captain Joe Root in rebuilding the team after an embarrassing 4-0 defeat in the Ashes.
IPL 2022 will be an exciting season with 10 teams in contention for the coveted trophy. Ahead of the upcoming season of the IPL, a mega auction is scheduled on February 12 and 13 in Bengaluru. However, several foreign players have opted out of the mega auction, and England all-rounder Ben Stokes is one among the cricketers who will not feature in the IPL 2022.
Stokes, who played his IPL season in 2017, ended the tournament as the Most Valuable Player of the edition as he scored 316 runs, and scalped 12 wickets for Rising Pune Supergiants. The 30-year-old was then roped in by Rajasthan Royals for INR 12.50 crores in the 2018 IPL auction. The England all-rounder played brilliant knocks, and scalped wickets regularly for the Rajasthan-based franchise. However, an injury kept him out of the second leg of IPL 2021, and later the 30-year-old pulled out of England's T20 World Cup squad selection.
Stokes took a mental health break, and was away from competitive cricket for a long period in 2021. However, the all-rounder returned to the national side for Ashes 2021-2022 but failed to perform with bat and ball in the five-match Test series, which England lost by 4-0 against Australia.
Meanwhile, Stokes stated that the team will learn from the disappointing Ashes campaign, and will bounce back stronger in red-ball cricket in the coming days.
"It was a bitterly disappointing Ashes campaign Down Under, but we have to learn from it and begin the job of building the team back to where we want to be. It will take time, of course it will. Even the white-ball team took time to get to the point where we could win a World Cup," Stokes wrote in his Daily Mirror column.
"And we need to go on a similar journey with the Test team now, with everyone involved 100 percent committed to doing what is necessary to improve and be among the best teams again," he added.
Speaking on his decision to opt-out from IPL mega auction, Stokes stated that Test cricket is his number one priority, and he wants to help Joe Root in rebuilding the team. Stokes further added that he is looking forward to getting best prepared for England's upcoming matches.
"That is my approach to it. Test cricket is absolutely my number one priority, and I want to work alongside Joe Root, the best man we could have as captain, to get us there," Stokes said.
"It is why I thought long and hard about whether to go to the IPL or not, and felt that this was not about the money but about where my priorities are. It wouldn't be fair on any team I signed up for if I wasn't totally focused on things out there.
"The Test team is where it is at for me right now and I want to give as much of my time and energy to that as possible. I think the Test side will benefit more from me playing a number of County Championship matches this summer and getting myself as best prepared as possible for the challenges of New Zealand and South Africa," Stokes added.