Indian Premier League: Jos Buttler & Ben Stokes retained by Rajasthan Royals

England cricketers Jos Buttler (left) and Ben Stokes (right) clasp hands while wearing their Rajasthan Royals kit
Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes are part of 16 players retained by the Rajasthan Royals

England's Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes have been retained by Twenty20 franchise Rajasthan Royals for the 2019 Indian Premier League.

Batsman Buttler, 28, scored 548 runs in this year's tournament, helping to earn a recall to the England Test team.

All-rounder Stokes, 27, was named Most Valuable Player in the 2017 IPL after starring for Rising Pune Supergiant.

The Royals have also retained 23-year-old Sussex all-rounder Jofra Archer.

"I couldn't wish for a better franchise to be a part of - it felt like a family last season and I can't wait to get back out amongst the team," said Buttler.

"It is great to play with Stokes and I really hope the fans back home in England will get behind us as players and choose the Royals as their team to support."

Buttler and Stokes are currently in Sri Lanka with England.

The 2019 IPL is set to start on 23 March.

Buttler, who cost £485,000 at auction, made five consecutive half-centuries for the Royals this year, tying the IPL record of Virender Sehwag - after being promoted to open.

Stokes scored 196 runs and took eight wickets in 13 matches after being bought for £1.38m by the Royals, who reached the play-offs in their first season back after a two-year suspension over a corruption scandal.

Fast bowler Archer, who was born in the West Indies but intends to play for England, took 15 wickets at 21.66 after being bought for £800,000.

The Royals have also retained former Australia captain Steve Smith, who missed last season after being banned for his part in a ball-tampering scandal.

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