England Test Captain Ben Stokes urged the cricket authorities to stop treating the players like cars after his final ODI match at Chester Lee Street on Tuesday. Ben Stokes retired from the One Day International format after his 105th ODI match against South Africa. Stokes was a central figure in England’s 2019 World Cup victory and his ODI retirement at the age of 31 has come as a shock to many.
Stokes was quite clear about his decision to retire from the ODI format and concentrate more on the T20I and Test cricket.
“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”.
After the final match, Stokes was detailing his decision that he has a desire to lighten his loads. Playing all three formats with a tight schedule is “unsustainable” for him now. Being the Test captain, Stokes had to give everything he has to the Test format. Stokes missed the T20 series against India after the Test matches against New Zealand and India. He will not play in the T20s against South Africa also after he was named in the ODI format.
Stokes believes that the on-field product will lessen with the unacceptable cricket schedule. “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.
Stokes’ retirement will surely be a warning to cricket authorities over the congested global schedule, and he warned that other players could follow his example. It is not about England players, Teams all around the world are now looking forward to giving some rest to players. everyone wants the best players to play all the matches. The more cricket the player played, the better for the sport, but the quality is also important.
“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.”, Stokes added.
Stokes also mentioned the examples of James Anderson and Stuart Broad. They both last played white-ball cricket for England in 2015 and 2016 respectively, but are still major figures in the Test attack. While talking to Broad, Stokes was convinced he made the right decision.“It’s come a lot earlier than I would have liked at 31 years old, giving one of the formats up. Hopefully when I’m 35, 36, still playing Test cricket, I can look back on this decision and say I’m very happy with it.”
Nasser Hussain about Ben Stokes’ retirement
Former England skipper Nasser Hussain also slammed the overfilled cricket calendar and called it “madness for players” after the all-rounder Ben Stokes abruptly retired from ODIs.
“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 said to Sky Sports.
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