“Thank you for everything”: Ben Stokes gets ODI farewell. watch

“Thank you for everything”: Ben Stokes gets ODI farewell.  watch

Ben Stokes played his last ODI match against South Africa on Tuesday. He got a loud farewell after the match. His sudden retirement was a shock to many. The 31-year-old Stokes is best remembered for his scintillating innings in the 2019 World Cup final against New Zealand. England World Cup hero Stokes was blunt in explaining his decision to retire from one-day internationals: “We are not cars, you can’t fill us up.”

But despite the 2019 World Cup-winner being ruled out of 50-over cricket, England’s Test captain Stokes has termed “unstable”, a fixture program unlikely to make a meaningful improvement.

Watch: Ben Stokes gets a grand farewell

The international fixtures underline a lucrative broadcast contract that the England and Wales Cricket Board has with Sky TV worth £220 million ($264 million) per year and the main revenue-provider for most of the sport’s major nations.

Since the start of 2017, England have almost 500 scheduled days of cricket, which puts them second only to India at 472.

Making matters worse, a knock-on consequence of the coronavirus pandemic is the addition of several delayed fixtures to this year’s calendar.

Stokes was ruled out of ODIs after England’s loss to South Africa at their Durham home ground on Tuesday, a match in which the tired-looking 31-year-old all-rounder took 0-44 and scored just five runs with the bat.

He will still play Test and Twenty20 International matches. The game came in the middle of a grueling England schedule of 12 white-ball fixtures over 25 days this month, with the Test team playing seven matches in the 2022 home season.

“You want a product that is of the highest quality. You want the best players to play as much as they can at all times,” Stokes told the BBC ahead of Tuesday’s match.

“We’re not cars, you can’t fill us up and we’ll go there and be ready to refuel.”

‘wake up call’
England’s white-ball captain Jos Buttler has called his teammates’ retirement from ODIs a “wake-up call”.

There has long been speculation that men’s ODIs will eventually be squeezed out of the financial allure of rival formats.

Yet there are 50-over World Cups scheduled for 2023, 2027 and 2031, as well as two Champions Trophy tournaments in 2025 and 2029. Bilateral ODI series are more likely to be at risk.

South Africa withdrew from a scheduled series against Australia in January – risking their qualification for next year’s World Cup in India – as it clashes with a new domestic T20 tournament . Cricketers in the previous era used to retire from all international cricket at the same time, but the way Stokes announced his exit is common.

The lucrative Indian Premier League and other franchise T20 competitions have meant that many top cricketers are less dependent on national service for their income.

England greats James Anderson and Stuart Broad, the country’s two all-time leading Test wicket-takers, both retired from white-ball cricket to extend their careers into the five-day format not long ago, while star batsman Joe Root is now the T. Doesn’t play 20 internationals.

India’s Virat Kohli remains an all-format cricketer, yet he is without an international century since 2019. “You don’t want to dilute the product,” Root, former England Test captain, said in response to close friend Stokes’ ODI retirement. “You want to see the best of the best at the best as often as possible.”

Yet administrators have shown reluctance to cut back on the number of money-making fixtures. Last year, for example, England had to assemble a new 18-man squad, nine of whom had never played an ODI before, a few days before a series against Pakistan still 3 due to a Covid outbreak. Won by -0.

Tickets for international games in England are usually sold out long before and long before the composition of the team is known.

Will the audience stay away if they know that Stokes and other top stars are not playing? And will the officers reduce the workload to reduce the chances of such absence?

Former England captain Michael Atherton is skeptical about whether change is coming, saying administrators just want to cram “as much cricket into the calendar as possible to get as much money as possible”.


He wrote in the Times: “Maybe a year away from the World Cup, Stokes’ sudden retirement from 50-over cricket may be a moment for him to reconsider. Don’t hold your breath.”

with AFP input

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