Former England captain Nasser Hussain feels that Ben Stokes' decision to retire from ODI cricket at the age of 31 should come as a wake-up call to the administrators. The all-rounder played his final ODI on Tuesday (July 19) at Durham against South Africa.
Citing the inability to play across all three formats for the national team alongside franchise cricket, Stokes decided to step away from the 50-over format. His claim of playing in all three formats being "unsustainable" brings to light the tight schedule that the team has in the near future. England are scheduled to compete in 42 Tests, 44 ODIs, and 52 T20Is in the 2023-2027 ICC Future Tour Programme (FTP) schedule.
According to Nasser Hussain, no player should be pushed towards retirement from a particular format at the age of 31. The former skipper wrote for his column in the Daily Mail:
"His decision was something of a shout to the administrators because at the age of 31 someone like him shouldn't have to retire from a certain format,"
"He called out the time earlier this year when England were playing Ashes cricket in Australia at the same time as a white-ball side was on the other side of the world, playing T20 against West Indies."
The 50-over format is clinging on desperately to attain relevance, with Stokes' retirement putting in yet another dent at a crucial juncture. With T20 cricket bringing in the glitz and the glam and Test cricket encompassing values and tradition, the ODI format has been in a trance for a while.
Claiming that T20 and Test cricket are shadowing the ODI format, Hussain wrote:
"Twenty20 is lucrative, leads to opportunities with franchises and is short and sharp while Test match cricket is something you love and hate in equal measure because of what it takes out of you. It is a mental battle that tests you to the absolute limits."
Stokes is currently the captain of the England Test side and his retirement from the ODI circuit will likely help him prolong his career. His involvement in the T20s also allows him to be considered for franchise cricket all around the globe, with the FTP calendar dedicating a separate timeline for it.
"Stokes is not a man driven by money" - Nasser Hussain
The prospect of T20 franchises budding and flourishing makes cricket more lucrative day by day. Record broadcast and sponsorship deals have already pulled in astronomical sums of money so far.
Regardless of franchise cricket's growing stature, Nasser Hussain believes the Durham cricketer's decision to retire from ODI cricket had nothing to do with money. He wrote:
"Stokes is not a man driven by money - hence he skipped the Indian Premier League this year, and will perhaps do so next. Every time he goes onto that field, he wants to be 100% committed, not 80% - and that is what makes him the player he is. "
Earlier this year, the all-rounder opted not to put his name up for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 mega auction. Having missed the second-leg of the 2021 edition following a mental health break, he was released by the Rajasthan Royals (RR).