England’s Ben Stokes to retire from ODI cricket and focus on Test captaincy

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Stokes said he wants to ‘give everything I have to Test cricket’  (Getty)
Stokes said he wants to ‘give everything I have to Test cricket’ (Getty)

Ben Stokes has announced that he will retire from one-day international cricket in order to focus on captaining England’s Test team.

Stokes was the hero of England’s 2019 World Cup final victory over New Zealand and will play in his last ODI against South Africa in Durham on Tuesday.

In a shock announcement, Stokes said he could no longer give his all across three formats after he was named England’s Test captain in May.

“This has been an incredibly tough decision to make,” Stokes said. “As hard as a decision as this was to come to, it’s not as hard as dealing with the fact I can’t give my teammates 100 per cent of myself in this format anymore. 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 [ODI captain] Jos [Buttler] 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.”

Stokes has scored 2,919 runs and taken 74 wickets in the format and will play in his 105th international match against South Africa. He will be remembered for his player-of-the-match display in England’s dramatic World Cup final victory over New Zealand at Lord’s.

Stokes and Joe Root with the World Cup trophy in 2019 (Getty)
Stokes and Joe Root with the World Cup trophy in 2019 (Getty)

“I have loved all 104 games I have played so far, I’ve got one more, and it feels amazing to be playing my last game at my home ground in Durham,” Stokes said.

“As always, the England fans have always been there for me and will continue to be there. You’re the best fans in the world. I hope we can win on Tuesday and set the series up nicely against South Africa.”

The 31-year-old added: “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.

“I would like to wish Jos Buttler, [white ball coach] Matthew Mott, the players and the support staff every success going forward. We have made great strides in white-ball cricket over the past seven years, and the future looks bright.”

Rob Key, managing director of men's cricket at the England and Wales Cricket Board, paid tribute to Stokes, saying: “Ben has had an incredible international career in ODI cricket, culminating in his match-winning performance at the Cricket World Cup final.

“I know this must have been a tough decision, but I completely understand why he has reached this conclusion.

“I’m sure that when we look back on Ben's career and see this as one of the reasons he will play 120-plus Tests and help England in T20 matches and World Cups for many years to come. It is a typically selfless decision that will benefit England long-term.”

Additional reporting from PA

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