England Test skipper Ben Stokes has announced that he will retire from the ODI format immediately after the opening match of the upcoming ODI leg against South Africa at Chester-le-Street on Tuesday.
Stokes, who was appointed as England’s Test captain earlier this year, said that playing three formats was ‘just unsustainable’ for him and felt he was blocking opportunities for other players.
Tuesday’s fixture at his home ground – the Riverside – will be Stokes’ 105th game for England in the 50-over format, having made his debut against Ireland in 2011. In 104 ODIs, Stokes has scored 2919 runs at an average of 39.44 and has taken 74 wickets.
Stokes took to his official Twitter handle and shared a lengthy statement where he mentioned that he would give his everything to Test cricket and full commitment to the shortest format of the game.
“I will play my last game for England in ODI cricket on Tuesday in Durham. I have decided to retire from this format. 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,” Stokes wrote in his statement on Twitter.
“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% 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 Jos 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. I would like to wish Jos Buttler, 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.
“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. 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,” added Stokes.