Ben Stokes played his final ODI on Tuesday.© AFP
Ben Stokes‘ retirement from ODIs at the age of 31 has come as a shock to many. What was more shocking was his absolute clarity regarding the decision to quit from one format of the game. “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,” he said in his statement as he announced his retirement.
The comment once again highlighted how tough the schedule is on the players. Now, Stokes has further detailed his concern in an interview.
“I always want to contribute to the team, be on it 100% of the time. We are not cars where you can fill us up with petrol and let us go. It has an effect on you, the playing, the travel, it does add up. As I said, the schedule at the moment seems very jam-packed and it’s asking a lot of the players to keep putting in 100% of effort in every time they walk onto the field,” Stokes said to BBC’s Test Match Special.
“Teams are looking at their squads and wondering where they can give players a break. If you want the best product possible you want the best players out there, producing that. If teams and organisations feel players need a break to look after them in one format, I don’t think it looks good. I look at us playing a Test match and the one-day team were playing at the same time as well. It’s odd to think about.”
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. After making his ODI debut against Ireland in 2011, Stokes scored 2924 runs, including three centuries, and taken 74 wickets.
He captained the ODI side during last summer’s 3-0 Royal London Series victory against Pakistan and has been an inspirational leader.
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