Saturday, August 6, 2022

Stokes to retire from ODI cricket to focus on Test captain

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Ben Stokes has announced he will be retiring from one-day international cricket to focus on managing the England Test team.

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

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

“It was an incredibly difficult decision,” said Stokes. “As hard as that decision was to make, it’s not that hard to deal with not being able to give 100% of myself to my teammates in this format. The England shirt deserves no less from anyone who wears it.

“Three formats are simply no longer acceptable to me. Not only do I feel like my body is letting me down because of the schedule and what is expected of us, but I also feel like I’m taking the place of another player who can give [ODI captain] if [Buttler] and the rest of the team their best.

“It’s time for someone else to move forward as a cricketer and make incredible memories like the ones I’ve had over the past 11 years.”

Stokes has scored 2,919 runs and won 74 wickets in the format and will be playing his 105th cap against South Africa. He will be remembered for his performance as man of the match in England’s dramatic World Cup final win over New Zealand at Lord’s.

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

“As always, the English fans have always been there for me and will continue to be there. You are the best fans in the world. I hope we can win on Tuesday and put the series together well against South Africa.”

The 31-year-old added: “I will give my all to test cricket and now, with this decision, I can also devote myself fully to the T20 format.

“I wish Jos Buttler, Matthew Mott, the players and the support team every success for the future. We’ve 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: “Ben has had an incredible international career in ODI cricket, culminating in his victorious performance in the Cricket World Cup final .

“I know this must have been a difficult decision, but I fully understand why he came to this conclusion.

“I am sure if we look back on Ben’s career and see this as one of the reasons he will play more than 120 Tests and help England in T20 matches and World Cups for years to come. It’s a typically selfless decision that will benefit England in the long run.”

Additional reporting from PA

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