Ben Stokes gets a round of applause as he steps onto the pitch.© AFP
A day after making the shocking announcement of his retirement from ODIs, Ben Stokes stepped out at his home base in Durham to play his last game of the format as England faced South Africa in their series opener. Stokes, who was England’s hero in their 2019 World Cup final and throughout the campaign, said it was “unsustainable” for him to play all three formats and therefore stepped away from ODIs. In a heartwarming gesture, Stokes led the England team out as they took the field.
The star all-rounder was visibly moved as the crowd in 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
The newly appointed England captain Jos Buttler came up to him and gave him a quick hug before taking his place behind the stumps.
South Africa had won the toss and chose to bat in the first ODI.
Stokes announced on Monday that this would be his last game in the format.
This has been an incredibly difficult decision to make. I loved every minute of playing for England with my friends. We have had an incredible journey along the way,” Stokes said in his statement.
“As hard as a decision was to come, it’s not that hard to deal with the fact that I can no longer give my teammates 100% of myself in this format. The England shirt deserves nothing less from everyone who wears it Three formats are just untenable for me now Not only do I feel like my body is letting me down because of the schedule and what’s expected of us but I also feel like I’m taking the place of another player which Jos and the rest of the team everything”, he added.
While Stokes is England’s Test captain, he also said he will continue to play T20Is.
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