Former Australian captain Mark Taylor has suggested that cricket administrators all around the globe should be concerned by Ben Stokes‘ decision to retire from one-day internationals at the age of 31. Taylor claims that the red flags have been flying for some time now, and further players may follow in Stokes’ footsteps in the not too distant future.
The cricketing community and fans were taken aback when England‘s all-rounder, who won the 2019 ODI World Cup for his country, announced on Monday (July 18) that he has chosen to retire from the 50-over version of the game. The proven game-winner said that the packed schedule, which he referred to as “unsustainable” for him, was the primary factor in his choice.
What did Mark Taylor say about Ben Stokes’ retirement?
Taylor said the following to Wide World of Sports in response to Stokes’ unexpected departure from ODI competition:
“To tell you the truth, I believe that we should have been sounding the alarm for quite some time. The problem is that there are three different international formats, then all of the local T20 tournaments, with the Indian Premier League (IPL) serving as the leader since it is so massive.”
The Australian great emphasized the idea that the rising impact of cash-rich Twenty20 leagues is also a factor in such significant, career-defining choices. He went on to Explain:
“Players like Ben Stokes are in great demand, and given the fact that they are paid extremely well by the Twenty20 leagues, ultimately something will have to go. The terrible truth is that, in most cases, one form of international cricket needs to take a backseat to the others.”
The 57-year-old said that if the authorities in charge of cricket fail to strike a balance between the many aspects of the cricketing calendar, then more players might follow in Stokes’ footsteps. Taylor added:
“The writing is on the wall for a lot of cricketers, given that there are three forms of international cricket, but then the local T20 format has so many alternatives with the many leagues across the globe. Players have the opportunity to play for four or five different teams at any one moment, and the market for freelance players is expected to continue growing in the coming years.”
What should be done moving forward?
Some commentators and ex-cricketers believe that Twenty20 matches should only be played in domestic cricket to ease the pressure placed on players. Nevertheless, Taylor is dubious as to whether or not it is the answer to the issue. In his defense, he stated:
“Some people who love their Test and one-day internationals will say that T20 cricket should be played at the domestic level only, which is where it started.
There is a very strong case to be made in favor of it, but the issue is that it only benefits the wealthy, while the disadvantaged get nothing from it. Everyone would flock to the larger nations, such as the IPL and the BBL, and the smaller countries wouldn’t have a chance to participate.”
Ravi Shastri, a former all-rounder for India who played the position, recently expressed his thoughts on the grueling schedule by saying that T20 matches at the international level should only be played during the World Cup and that bilateral series should be eliminated.