Ben Stokes announces shock ODI retirement citing ‘unsustainable’ schedule

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Ben Stokes has announced his retirement from one-day internationals (Adam Davy/PA) (PA Archive)
Ben Stokes has announced his retirement from one-day internationals (Adam Davy/PA) (PA Archive)

England’s World Cup hero Ben Stokes has announced his shock retirement from one-day cricket, departing with a word of warning about the “unsustainable” schedule.

Stokes’ bloody-minded brilliance was the inspiration behind England’s historic victory in the 2019 World Cup final, defying the odds to score 84 not out in a tied match against New Zealand and then coming back out to settle things via a super over.

But in three years since that triumphant moment, the country’s star all-rounder has played just nine more times in the 50-over format, due to injuries, a mental health break and workload management.

The 31-year-old will turn out once more for a farewell appearance, at his home ground of Chester-le-Street against South Africa on Tuesday, before focusing on his Test captaincy and Twenty20 career.

And while that will be a chance to celebrate his achievements over the course of 11 years, he made it clear in a carefully worded statement – issued personally on his social media accounts then shared by his employers at the ECB – that England’s exhausting fixture list has been a factor in forcing his hand.

A born competitor, he has concluded that the demands currently being placed on the country’s all-format players are becoming impossible to manage.

Three formats are just unsustainable for me now

Ben Stokes

“This has been an incredibly tough decision to make. I have loved every minute of playing with my mates for England. We have had an incredible journey on the way,” 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 team-mates 100% of myself in this format any more. The England shirt deserves nothing less from anyone who wears it.

“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 (Buttler, captain) 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.

“I will give everything I have to Test cricket, and now, with this decision, I feel I can also give my total commitment to the T20 format.”

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