Cricketing schedule is madness: Nasser Hussain on ‘disappointing’ Ben Stokes ODI retirement

Former England captain Nasser Hussain said Ben Stokes’s decision to retire from ODI cricket is ‘disappointing’ to say the least and shocking at the same time. Stokes, 31, said on Monday that he would be retiring from the 50-over format of the game after the ODI series opener between England and South Africa on Tuesday, July 19.

Stokes’s decision to give up ODIs 3 years after he played a pivotal role in helping England win the ODI World Cup helped raise quite a few eyebrows. However, the England all-rounder, who recently took over as the Test captain from Joe Root, conceded that he was not being able to give his 100 percent to the team in ODI cricket and playing all 3 formats of the game amid a busy schedule is “unsustainable” for him.

Stokes’s decision to retire from ODIs comes at a time when questions are being asked of the need for bilateral ODI cricket. Notably, England are one of the busiest teams in international cricket. The 2019 World Cup winners are scheduled to play 138 bilateral matches, including 44 ODIs between 2023 and 2027.

Stokes’s decision came days after he pulled out from The Hundred this year and a T20I series against South Africa. The England all-rounder has been picking and choosing white-ball tournaments in the recent past as he has been bogged down by injuries. He took a mental health break last year and skipped the IPL 2022 and the T20 World Cup in the UAE last year.

“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,” Nasser Hussain told Sky Sports.

“Half the reasons [for his retirement] will be physical, and half will be mental, and mental in Ben’s case is the fact he can’t do things at 70, 80%. He’s not just going to be a bit-part player, he has to do it full on and he’s not willing to do it unless he does it 100 percent.

“In a way, I respect him immensely for making that decision because that’s how you want every England cricketer to turn up, giving it everything every single day,” he added.

‘SCHEDULE ABSOLUTELY CRAZY’

Stokes has played 104 ODIs for England after making his debut in 2011. Stokes played 20 ODIs in the World Cup year in 2019 but has played only 9 ever since, including 3 against India earlier this month.

“I guess it’s the schedule. The cricketing schedule is absolutely crazy at the moment. If you just play in the one format – say Test matches – it’s absolutely fine. But if you’re a multi-format, multi-dimensional player, and even a Test Match captain like Ben Stokes, who throws himself into his job 100% on and off the field, eventually something’s going to have to give, and it looks like for Ben it is 50-over cricket which is a real shame because he gave us and England fans the greatest day for a very long time in 2019, a day we’ll never forget with that World Cup final,” Hussain added.

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Also Read: Respect: Virat Kohli pays tribute to Ben Stokes on ODI retirement

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