Ben Stokes will play his final one-day international on Tuesday after deciding to retire from the 50-over format.
The England Test captain has made 104 ODI appearances for his country, and played a critical role in his side's World Cup glory in 2019, but balancing commitments to the red-ball team and in both international and franchise T20 cricket have proven to be too much within cricket's incredibly crowded schedule.
Stokes will turn out for England in the first of three matches against South Africa, at his home ground in Durham on Tuesday, but will withdraw from the squad after the game.
Ben Stokes will retire from ODIs this week [AFP via Getty Images]
The allrounder's statement explaining his decision sent a clear message: there is too much being asked of elite cricketers at present.
Stokes said: "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 per cent 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.
Stokes has played 104 ODIs [AFP via Getty Images]
"I will give everything I have to Test cricket, and now, with this decision, I feel I can also give my total commitment to the T20 format.
"I have loved all 104 games I have played so far, I’ve got one more, and it feels amazing to be playing my last game at my home ground in Durham."
Stokes averages 39 with the bat and 41 with the ball in ODI cricket, scoring three centuries and taking one five-for. To date, he has scored 2,919 runs and taken 74 wickets since making his debut against Ireland in 2011.
He retires as only the third England player to score 2,500 runs and take 50 wickets in the format, joining Paul Collingwood and Andrew Flintoff.
He also captained England in the format on three occasions, stepping into the role against Pakistan last summer following a Covid-19 outbreak in the England camp.
Stokes captained England in three ODIs against Pakistan in July 2021 [Stu Forster/Getty Images]
Interim ECB CEO, Clare Connor, labelled Stokes an "inspirational figure", commenting: "Ben Stokes is a superstar in every format of our game. His remarkable contribution to the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup final at Lord's in 2019 enabled England men to win that prestigious trophy for the first time.
"Ben is not only one of the world's best players, but an inspirational figure too, so our ODI team will miss him. But having taken on the Test captaincy and with today's busy calendar of cricket, we completely understand and respect his decision.
"We look forward to watching him excite and enthral in an England shirt for many years to come."
Managing director of England men's cricket, Rob Key, added: "Ben Stokes has had an incredible international career in ODI cricket, culminating in his match-winning performance at the 2019 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup final.
"I know this must have been a tough decision, but I completely understand why he has reached this conclusion.
"I'm sure that when we look back on Ben's career and see this as one of the reasons he will play 120-plus Tests and help England in T20 matches and World Cups for many years to come.
"It is a typically selfless decision that will benefit England long-term."
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