England all-rounder Ben Stokes led the Three Lions to the field in the first ODI against South Africa at the Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street on Tuesday. The fixture is set to be Stokes' final One-Day International after he announced his decision to retire from the format a day before.
It was clearly an emotional moment for one of England's greatest all-rounders to have played the game. While his home crowd stood up and applauded as he stepped onto the field first followed by his teammates, Jos Buttler and other players came to give him high fives soon after.
Notably, Stokes had explained his decision to hang up the boots by citing all three formats as unsustainable for him.
"I will play my last game for England in ODI cricket on Tuesday in Durham," Stokes stated on Monday (July 19) as per an ECB release. "I have decided to retire from this format. 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 teammates 100% of myself in this format anymore. The England shirt deserves nothing less from anyone who wears it.
"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. It's time for someone else to progress as a cricketer and make incredible memories like I have over the past 11 years," he stated.
The all-rounder will hang his boots having played 105 ODI matches at end of his career. A moment from his ODI career that will perhaps never be forgotten remains the match-winning 84* that he played against New Zealand in the ICC World Cup final in 2019. His player of the Match worthy performance at Lord's had helped England lift their first-ever ODI World Cup trophy in the history of the game.