‘Begins With S, Ends With E’: Ben Stokes Tweets England Cricket’s Biggest Problem

Last Updated: January 28, 2023, 10:55 AM IST

Ben Stokes has already retired from ODIs. (AFP Photo)

World champion England suffered defeat in the first ODI against South Africa on Friday

International cricket has a big problem. And it has been repeatedly pointed out by cricketers across the world. Even cricket boards including the likes of BCCI have started taking measures to counter it.

The crammed schedule is forcing players to prioritise formats and tournaments. Others like Ben Stokes have taken the extreme measure to quit one format altogether so as to keep themselves fit and fresh for the other two. Others like Trent Boult have given up on national contracts to become freelancers despite being at the peak of their careers.

One-day cricket is bearing the brunt of his with fewer fans at the venues. With top players sometimes unavailable due to their prior commitments, fitness concerns or format preferences; teams often aren’t able to field their best XI.

On Friday, world champion England lost the first ODI of a three-match series against South Africa in Bloemfontein. While the obvious reason behind the defeat was their batting collapse after being in a healthy position in chase of 299, Stokes pointed out another reason that’s troubling the team.

“Begins with S ends with E and has chedul in there as well,” Stokes posted in response to a query from Wisden on Twitter that read “What is England’s biggest issue in ODI cricket?”

Obviously, it doesn’t take a genius to break the code.

Stokes had announced he’s quitting ODIs arguing it’s not ‘sustainable’ for him to play three formats. “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 said.

The likes of Steve Waugh have also pointed out the overdoes of cricket in light of the non-stop matches throughout the year. There are fears that with the rising popularity of T20 format and top players reiterating their desire to play Tests, it’s the one-day cricket which will suffer.

Australia batter Usman Khawaja has said ODI is dying a slow death while the legendary Wasim Akram has termed the format a ‘drag’.

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