Stokes retires from ODIs, calls playing 3 formats unsustainable; England’s worries pile up before WC
Ben Stokes set to retire from One-Day Internationals after Chester-le-Street ODI against South Africa. Ben Stokes says playing all three formats are unsustainable for him.
The lion’s share of cricket followers across the world was shocked on Monday afternoon, July 18, when England’s champion all-rounder, Ben Stokes, with a social media post, informed that he will bow out of the One Day International (ODI) format following the first of the three-match series against South Africa at his home ground in Durham.
There was a moment towards the end of the recent one-day game at Old Trafford in Manchester against India when Stokes, running after the ball to the long off region, was jarring his left knee before walking back gingerly to his place; he looked physically vulnerable at the end of the game.
Three formats are just unsustainable for me now: Stokes
Speaking about the reason of his dumbfounding act of hanging his boots in the ODI format, Ben Stokes, aged 31, pointed out that playing three formats is going to be unsustainable for him in the future.
“Not only do I feel that my body is letting me down of the schedule and what’s expected of us, but also I feel that I am taking the place of another player who can give Jos (Buttler) and the rest of the team their all,” Stokes said.
Stokes, who before his last ODI has 2919 runs at a strike rate of 95.26 including 21 half centuries and three centuries, besides picking up 74 wickets in 104 ODI games, revealed. “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 per cent of myself in this format.”
Stokes notified his decision to Rob Key, England’s managing director for men’s cricket, last Thursday at the end of the second ODI against India at Lord’s. Stokes is only 31 years old but the demanding role of being an all-rounder in the modern generation takes lot out of the body, especially given the tight scheduling.
The burning question received fire post Stokes’ decision
The pressure of defending the World Cup in India in a year’s time, which is trusted to be the most prestigious title of all events, may have kept Stokes from going further in this format. That also tells how hard it’s becoming for cricketers to keep themselves up in various formats given the tight schedule.
To add more spice to the flavour, Stokes had taken a mental break during the last summer due to the bio-bubble fatigue in Covid times, long sustaining finger injury and also the grieving days when his father passed away. However, his choice of moving forward with Test cricket in the future, leaving out other formats, is expected to preserve the purest form of the game.
“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, and Ben Stokes is done with one format aged 31, which can’t be right,” former England captain Naseer Hussain displayed his concern to Sky Sports about cricket scheduling that clarifies that England men will play 42 Tests, 44 ODIs, 52 T20Is along with two ODI World Cups and same number of T20 World Cups and Champions Trophies in the 2023-2027 schedule. “The schedule needs looking at, it’s just a joke at the moment.”
Often players will start to leave out one format
This is actually a wise move from Stokes who has seen two of the greatest all-format players, Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson, struggling to get back into their familiar rhythm; the former is yet to notch up an international century since late 2019, while Williamson has seen a huge decline in his form of late.
Quinton de Kock said goodbye to Test cricket recently, to keep him fresh for limited overs cricket while Bangladesh ODI captain, Tamim Iqbal recently retired from T20I cricket. Stokes’ retirement just shows how draining it can be even for a well-resourced country to maintain the balance.
Going in the past, the decision to remove James Anderson and Stuart Broad from white-ball games post that haunting ICC ODI World Cup 2015 campaign, has undoubtedly helped the two pacers to stretch their Test careers. With every passing day, it will be a new normal in cricketers’ lives; afterall, they are not programmed robots.
Let’s chart three best ODI performances from Ben Stokes
Stokes greets the biggest stage with 70 & 4-38 against Australia, Perth, 2013-14
A young Ben Stokes was still finding himself at number eight to slog in the final ten overs which was old school England batting during their horrible 2013-14 Australia tour. But after losing the ODI series in the first three games, Stokes was promoted to number three at WACA Ground in Perth, a venue where he dished out his maiden Test century earlier on the tour.
The Durham all-rounder responded with a mature innings of 70 from 84 balls that was arranged with six sweet boundaries and one huge six. Stokes sealed the game with the ball, hitting the deck hard getting rid of Glenn Maxwell and James Failkner among other players. to return figures of 4-38 in nine overs. This top performance helped deliver England’s first victory of the tour, showing the world some early signs of Stokes’ calibre.
Stokes’ masterclass century against Australia, Edgbaston, ICC Champions Trophy 2017
The ICC Champions Trophy in 2017 was a huge event for England to heal the wounds of their previous final in the tournament and erase the pain of four sixes in Kolkata during the ICC T20 World Cup 2016. England were going pretty well before finding themselves 35/3 chasing 278 against Australia at Edgbaston.
Stokes shared a rescue 159-run stand for the fourth wicket with Eoin Morgan, before going berserk at the end to celebrate his century on the penultimate ball before the heavens opened up. Stokes made 102* in 109 balls, which consisted of 13 boundaries and couple of sixes as England sealed a victory against the old rivals.
The world bows down to Stokes’ extraordinary 84* against New Zealand, Lord’s, ICC ODI World Cup 2019 Final
The whole of Lord’s was cheering loudly by the time Stokes freezed his hands up, sitting on his knees when the ball rolled on to the boundary after touching his bat but before and after the incident, the world observed a masterclass knock from Ben Stokes. Chasing 242 in the final, England were under a bit of trouble at 86/4 when Buttler and Stokes stitched up an all-important stand.
Stokes’ composure was the highlight of that knock of 84*, which consisted of five boundaries and couple of sixes. The maturity of going for one run on the last ball rather than a big shot, paints out the game sense Stokes displayed on that huge stage. It was a non-hundred knock that will go down in the history books and will be remembered for a long time.
Stokes retirement sure to give headaches to England team management
It's going to be a huge issue for England with ICC ODI World Cup 2023 being just a year ahead; to be honest, Jos Buttler will find it really tough as a new leader. Morgan and Stokes, two of the giants of the game, have hanged their boots while Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Mooen Ali and Jason Roy are finding it hard to get going with their form.
England will have a few options at that number four; either promoting Ali or using the likes of James Vince or Phil Salt at that position. Going back to 2012, Kevin Pietersen, then aged 32, took an early retirement due to the demands of the format and the toll on his body.
Now, Stokes abrupt retirement before a 50-over World Cup, may plate out a few subjects to reconsider for England’s team management. Nonetheless, England fans will ignore the heatwave to worship their hero one last time in the ODI format at his home ground against South Africa.