Ben Stokes has decided that playing three different formats of international cricket is 'unsustainable' and will retire from the one-day arena after England’s clash with South Africa on Tuesday.
The new Test captain, who helped England win the 50-over World Cup back in 2019, has decided to concentrate instead on both the five-day game and T20 cricket at the highest level.
Tuesday’s opening match of a three-game series against the Proteas will be played at Stokes’ home ground of Chester-Le-Street – a fitting arena for him to end his ODI career.
England vs South Africa first ODI
13:00, Tuesday 19th July 2022
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New England Managing Director Rob Key has made no secret of the fact that the main focus has to be on red-ball success, with skipper Stokes likely to be at the heart of that.
With a number of injury problems in recent years, it seems a sensible choice for the 31-year-old to reduce his workload, which could help prolong his international career.
Stokes himself confirmed the news, saying: "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.
"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 team-mates 100 per cent of myself in this format anymore. The England shirt deserves nothing less from anyone who wears it."
The Durham ace went on to add: "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."
The all-rounder will always be remembered for his unbeaten 84 in England’s dramatic World Cup final win over New Zealand at Lord’s in 2019, which eventually was decided on a Super Over.
Prior to his last ODI game, Stokes has a batting average of 39.44 in the 50-over format and his highest score is an unbeaten 102, which came against Australia at Edgbaston back in 2013.
That is one of three centuries that the England ace has smashed during his ODI career, with the other two coming against Bangladesh (101) and Tuesday’s opponents South Africa (101). He has notched up 2919 runs in 104 one-day internationals, which includes 21 half-centuries.
His bowling stats also make impressive reading, taking 74 wickets at an average of 41.79 and an economy rate of 6.02.
Although the decision makes sense for Stokes, it does leave a big hole in England’s one-day squad and they will need to find an all-rounder solution ASAP.
At present, Sam Curran may be the man to step up to the plate for the South Africa series. The 24-year-old was the drinks carrier in the recent series defeat to India and looks likely to be given the chance to impress against the Proteas.
Curran has already got 24 ODI appearances to his name and it’s his bowling figures that standout, as he has taken 47 scalps and boasts an economy rate of 3.23 since making his international debut back in 2018.
Although the Surrey ace hasn’t got the power and stature of the Test captain, he is able to work the ball all around the ground and has three ODI half-centuries to his name.
Other players who will feel they can fill the boots of the outgoing Stokes include Liam Livingstone and David Willey. Neither though quite have the all-round threat, with Livingstone excelling on the batting front, while Willey is better at bowling.
The experienced Chris Woakes is another option, although he is another player in his 30s and the selectors may feel it’s a better option to try and bring through a younger alternative.