Since taking over for Joe Root as England’s Test cricket captain earlier this year, Ben Stokes has spearheaded a change in the nation’s strategy. However, without the brilliant all-rounder, the ODI team that he helped win the World Cup in 2019 will go on to the next phase of its growth.
Ben Stokes shocked the cricketing community when he declared that his final 50-over international encounter will be against South Africa on Tuesday at Chester-le-Street. Before Stokes resumes work on England’s Test comeback and the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year, he must bid his passionate Durham home fans a tearful farewell first.
Less apparent is what it implies for an England ODI squad still adjusting to a new era under Jos Buttler after captain Eoin Morgan retired last month, but there are important issues for cricket’s administrators to think about both in England and internationally.
Ben Stokes made it obvious in his announcement about retiring that he didn’t feel like he could give his all in the Test, ODI, and T20 formats.
He said, “as hard as a decision as this was to come to, it’s not as hard dealing with the fact I can’t give my teammates 100% of myself in this format anymore. The England shirt deserves nothing less from anyone who wears it.”
Ben Stokes feels he would not be able to give his best given the unsustainable schedule
Another important concern from him was that three formats were starting to get unsustainable for him. He felt that his body was finding it difficult to cope with the schedule and the expectations. Apart from concerns about his own level of performance, he feels that other players should get fair opportunity.
Anyone worried about the future of the game should shout out the phrase unsustainable. If the goal of adding more matches, series, competitions, and formats is to grow the game of cricket, then these efforts will be fatally undermined if they manage to convince a star performer like Stokes that it’s all a little too much. Stokes is known for his unflinching performances on the field.