England stellar all-rounder Ben Stokes dropped a bombshell on Monday when he announced retirement from ODIs claiming an inability to keep up with the demands of all three formats. However, Stokes confirmed that he will continue to lead the squad in red-ball cricket and will keep playing the shortest format of the game.
Ever since Stokes announced his decision to retire from ODIs, the debate over the jam-packed schedule of cricketers at the international stage has begun. Former England skipper Naseer Hussain was quick to slam ICC over the same. In his interaction with Sky Sports, Hussain claimed that ICC keeps putting ICC tournaments and bilateral series and individual boards just keep filling the gaps with as much cricket as possible.
He further stated that ‘it’s an absolute madness’ and the schedule needs to be looked at as it may cause cricketers to feel overburdened. After Naseer Hussain, another English cricket and legend of the game, Kevin Pietersen slammed England and Wales Cricket Board. He recalled his own ODI retirement and said that when he had cited scheduling as the reason for his decision to stop playing ODIs, the board had banned him from playing T20Is too.
Taking to Twitter, Kevin Pietersen wrote, “I once said the schedule was horrendous and I couldn’t cope, so I retired from ODI cricket & the ECB banned me from T20s too.”
I once said the schedule was horrendous and I couldn’t cope, so I retired from ODI cricket & the ECB banned me from T20s too………….?
— Kevin Pietersen? (@KP24) July 19, 2022
While announcing his retirement, Kevin Pietersen stated that the intensity of the international schedule demands a certain level of fitness (physically and mentally), which his body is not able to deliver. “I think its the right time to step aside and let the next generation of players come through to gain experience for the World Cup in 2015,” Pietersen had said.
Meanwhile, Stokes’ retirement came as a shock for England Cricket Board which is trying options for the upcoming 50-over World Cup 2023, scheduled to take place in India. Notably, England will try to defend their title after winning the last edition in which Stokes had played a significant role. The left-handed batter had played a superb knock of an unbeaten 84 which helped England lift the trophy with Stokes being awarded the Player of the tournament.