Ben Stokes receives a round of applause as he steps on the field.© AFP
A day after making the shock announcement that he is retiring from ODIs, Ben Stokes stepped out at his home ground in Durham to play his final match of the format as England took on South Africa in their series opener. Stokes, who was England’s hero in their 2019 World Cup final triumph and through the campaign in general, said it was “unsustainable” for him to play all three formats and hence stepped away from ODIs. In a heartwarming gesture, Stokes led the English team out as they took the field.
The star all-rounder was visibly emotional as the crowd at Chester-le-Street gave him a rousing reception.
Watch: Ben Stokes emotional as he leads England out in his final ODI
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) July 19, 2022
England’s newly appointed white-ball captain Jos Buttler came up to him and gave him a quick hug before heading on to his place behind the stumps.
South Africa had won the toss and opted to bat in the first ODI.
Stokes on Monday announced that this would be his last match in the 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,” said Stokes in his statement.
“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,” he added.
While Stokes is England’s Test captain, he also said he will continue playing T20Is.
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