‘Madness for players’: Nasser Hussain on cricket schedule after Ben Stokes leaves ODIs

Ben Stokes dropped a big bombshell on Monday when he said he would be retiring from ODIs and playing his last game in the 50-over format against South Africa in Durham on Tuesday. The England Test captain has said playing all three formats of the game is simply not viable for him at the moment and hence he has decided to end his ODI career. Referring to this decision, former England captain Nasser Hussain said the current cricket schedule was just “madness for players”.

“It’s disappointing news to say the least but it reflects where the cricket schedule is at the moment. It’s madness for the players. If the ICC just keeps hosting ICC events and individual boards keep filling in the blanks with as much cricket as they can, eventually those cricketers will just say I’m done. Stokes is done with a format at the age of 31, which can’t really be true. The schedule needs to be reviewed, it’s a bit of a joke at the moment,” Hussain told Sky Sports.

“It looks like 50-over cricket is what everyone is looking at because everyone loves Test match cricket and everyone loves T20 cricket. The IPL is getting a wider window so it will take even longer and players will retreat. South Africa have also pulled out of a bilateral series in white ball cricket which could cost them World Cup qualification and that’s a big deal,” he added.

Speaking further about Stokes’ decision, Hussain said: “It was a surprise, to be honest. They thought he’d take care of him when it comes to resting from various white ball tournaments and formats – he had already announced he was going to miss white ball series and The Hundred. Smashing 50-over cricket completely on its head is a massive surprise.

“I think it’s the schedule. The cricket schedule is absolutely insane at the moment. If you only play in one format – let’s say tryouts – that’s perfectly fine. But when you’re a multi-format, multi-dimensional player and even a Test match captain like Stokes, who puts 100 percent into his job on and off the field, at some point you have to sacrifice something. For Ben it’s 50-over cricket which is a real shame because he gave us and the English fans their biggest day in a long time in 2019, a day we will never forget with this World Cup final win,” he added added.

It is important to note that Stokes was named England Test captain earlier this year.

“Three formats just aren’t viable for me right now. Not only do I feel like my body is letting me down because of the schedule and what’s expected of us, but I also feel like I’m taking another player’s place, who can give Jos and the rest of the team everything. It’s time for someone else to move forward as a cricketer and have incredible memories like the ones I’ve had over the past 11 years,” Stokes had said in an official statement.

Promoted

After making his ODI debut against Ireland in 2011, Stokes has hit 2,919 runs, including three centuries, and won 74 wickets.

The 31-year-old England Test captain’s ODI career will forever be remembered for his performance as Player of the Match in the 2019 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup final against New Zealand at Lord’s.

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