Ben Stokes dropped a big bombshell on Monday as he said that he would be retiring from ODIs and would play his last 50-over format game on Tuesday against South Africa in Durham. The England Test captain said that playing all three formats of the game is just unsustainable for him right now and hence he has decided to call time on his ODI career. Former England captain Nasser Hussain weighed on this decision, and said that the current cricket schedule is just “madness for players”.
“It is disappointing news to say the least but it is a reflection of where the cricketing schedule is at the moment. It is madness for players. If the ICC just keep putting on ICC events and individual boards just keep filling the gaps with as much cricket as possible, eventually these cricketers will just say I’m done. Stokes is done with one format aged 31, which can’t be right, really. The schedule needs looking at, it is a bit of a joke at the moment,” Hussain told Sky Sports.
“It looks like 50-over cricket is the one everyone is looking at, because everyone loves Test match cricket and everyone loves T20 cricket. The IPL is getting a wider window, so that’ll go on for even longer and players will pull out. South Africa have also pulled out of a bilateral series coming up in white-ball cricket which could cost them qualification to the World Cup, and that is a big deal,” he added.
Further talking about Stokes’ decision, Hussain said: “It came as a surprise, to be honest. You thought he would be looked after, in terms of being rested from various white-ball tournaments and formats – he’d already announced he was going to miss white-ball series, and The Hundred. To completely knock 50-over cricket on the head is a massive surprise.”
“I guess it’s the schedule. The cricketing schedule is absolutely crazy at the moment. If you just play in the one format – say Test matches – it’s absolutely fine. But if you’re a multi-format, multi-dimensional player, and even a Test match captain like Stokes, who throws himself into his job 100 per cent on and off the field, eventually something’s going to have to give. For Ben, it is 50-over cricket, which is a real shame because he gave us and England fans their greatest day for a very long time in 2019, a day we’ll never forget with that World Cup final win,” he added.
It is important to note that Stokes was made the Test captain of England earlier this year.
“Three formats are just unsustainable for me now. Not only do I feel that my body is letting me down because of the schedule and what is expected of us, but I also feel that I am taking the place of another player who can give Jos and the rest of the team their all. It’s time for someone else to progress as a cricketer and make incredible memories like I have over the past 11 years,” Stokes had said in an official statement.
After making his ODI debut against Ireland in 2011, Stokes has scored 2919 runs, including three centuries, and taken 74 wickets.
The 31-year-old England Test captain’s ODI career will forever be remembered for his Player-of-the-Match performance in the 2019 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup final against New Zealand at Lord’s.
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