Ben Stokes’ retirement hints poor governance in international cricket

Ben Stokes - BEN STOKES (cropped) (retouched), tags: stokes' retirement governance international - CC

Ben Stokes – BEN STOKES (cropped) (retouched) – CC

Ben Stokes’ ODI retirement news has sparked a discussion about England’s cricket governance by the International Cricket Council (ICC). Stokes announced his retirement at the beginning of this week after participating in an ODI match against South Africa.

He mentioned that intense scheduling had been a reason for his decision. Stokes explained that the current formats feel “unsustainable” for him.

“There is too much cricket rammed in for people to play all three formats now,” Stokes said in an interview. “We are not cars; you can’t just fill us up and we’ll go out there and be ready to be fuelled up again.”

Intense schedule, formats

Only in July, the England team has faced India in all of the cricket formats. It began with a Test, which was a rescheduled Test from last year. After that, they met again for a T20I series that ended with India’s win. Then, before facing South Africa, England met India again in an ODI series. Each series consisted of three matches. From July 1 to 17, the team only had 6 day-offs.

The England team will go abroad for an even more packed tour in the upcoming weeks. Their stop includes Pakistan. There are other tournaments that they will participate in this year, including the T20 World Cup in Australia.

England is not the only fully-booked team on the list. The Indian team is also packed this year. After concluding their tour in England, the team immediately headed to the Caribbean to start a list of games there. To deal with this situation, the team has begun to rotate its players. Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah are among the players given a break not to participate in the Caribbean tour.

Currently, there are three formats played in professional cricket: the long-form Test, T20, and ODI. Each team generally will participate with mostly the same team members in all of the three formats.

ICC maintains them for certain reasons. The Test is the longest format of cricket and also its original form. Its popularity has been declining because it is considered “boring”. However, since the management wants to maintain the “tradition”, it remains on the list.

Meanwhile, the T20 format is arguably the most popular format in the modern age of cricket. It is also very lucrative, as shown by the infamous Indian Premier League. The playing style is fast-paced compared to the Test.

ODI, short for One Day International, is considered to be the top standard of limited-overs games with a fixed 50 overs. According to the ICC, this format shows the quality of the players. Although analysts claimed that ICC is aware of its scheduling flaws, there is no guarantee that it will change.

Ben Stokes in ODIs

Stokes reportedly has been struggling with the heavy workload of international cricket in the past few years. Although his contribution for England during the 2019 World Cup was significant, he only participated in nine more ODIs until this year.

The red-ball captain has been dealing with mental health issues and injuries. These obstacles had prevented him from participating in this format optimally. Even during his last ODI match, he was dismissed after only scoring five runs.

Stokes had explained that the retirement decision is to prolong his career in this sport. By letting go of ODI, he can place his efforts in the other two formats.

Author: Ronald Butler