Former Australian captain Mark Taylor says cricket administrators should be concerned about Ben Stokes’ decision to pull out of one-day internationals. The England all-rounder has given up the over-50 format at the age of 31, pointing out that playing all three formats of the game is untenable for his body.
Stokes played a starring role in England’s 2019 World Cup triumph, the first in that format of play. But they will defend the trophy in India next year without the inspiring all-rounder, who was recently named Test captain.
“We are not cars,” Stokes told.
“You can’t just fill us up and we’ll go out and be ready to get fuel again. We had a test series and then the one day team had a series at the same time, that was a bit silly.
“I feel there is too much cricket now for people to play all three formats. It’s a lot harder than it used to be.”
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“The more cricket is played, the better for the sport, but you want a product that is of the highest quality.” Taylor said those in charge of the game should be concerned about how the situation has played out.
“I think the alarm bells have been going off for some time, to be brutally honest,” he told Wide World of Sports.
“The problem is where is the game with three international formats, then all the national T20 leagues, led by the IPL, which is huge.
“Players like Ben Stokes are in high demand, and since they are highly paid by T20 competitions, eventually something has to give.
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“The unfortunate reality is that it is usually one form of international cricket that has to give.” Taylor hopes more and more players will follow Stokes’ lead as the schedule gets even more packed.
“The writing is on the wall for many cricketers as there are three forms of international cricket but then the domestic T20 format has so many options with the different leagues around the world,” he explained.
“Gamers have the potential to have four or five employers at any given time, and you would think the market for independent gamers is only going to grow.”
“I don’t know what the answer is,” he added.
“Some people who love their test and one-day internationals will say that T20 cricket should only be played domestically, which is where it started. “There’s a very good argument for that, but the problem is that the rich get richer and the poor don’t gain anything from it. “The whole world would go for the bigger nations like the IPL and the BBL, and the smaller countries would miss out.”
Australia is not immune to the problem, having scheduled one-day internationals against Zimbabwe and New Zealand in Queensland in August and September, games that will fly almost unnoticed as the AFL and NRL seasons reach their climax.
“That’s very true and it’s a real problem for the game,” Taylor said. “But the flip side of that is the size of the World Cup over 50 years, which is still one of the biggest sporting events in the world.
“You have this massive event every four years, but it’s hard to get people interested in the games leading up to the World Cup. “Think about how big the 2019 World Cup was, and Ben Stokes was one of the stars of that, now he’s retired from that format.
“Do you play fewer one-day matches and does that put the future of the World Cup at risk, which could then decline or die altogether? I don’t know how you solve the problem.” Test skipper Pat Cummins will sit out the Townsville and Cairns matches, with Cricket Australia confirming that he “is being managed for a period of rehabilitation and physical preparation for next summer”.
Taylor agreed that precautions are sensible, but noted the difficulty managers face.
“Doing the administration of cricket well is very difficult. The three formats of the game provide a great opportunity, but at the same time they create a real conundrum”, he said.
“Multi-format players like Stokes can only play so much cricket and only want to play so much, and that’s totally understandable.
“I’ve seen it on a personal level, when I was on the CA board if the selectors let someone like Adam Gilchrist rest from an ODI, there was an uproar about letting one of your best players out. “That’s a good point, but at the same time you have to balance it with the possibility that you lose a very good player sooner than you should, because they have to make a decision that is in their own interest.
“It’s best to let them rest from a game or a series here and there to ensure their longevity. If you pick your best team for every game, you risk a Ben Stokes situation, where a great player retires early.”
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.