Ben Stokes announces ODI retirement: You’re the most competitive bloke I’ve played against, says Virat Kohli

Former India captain Virat Kohli sent Ben Stokes a heartwarming message after the England Test captain announced his retirement from ODI cricket on Monday, July 18. Stokes took to social media to announce he would be calling it quits from the 50-over format of the game after Tuesday’s ODI series opener between England and South Africa in Durham.

It was a shock call from Ben Stokes, 31, as he became the second England cricketer after former skipper Eoin Morgan from the 2019 World Cup-winning side to quit the ODI format of the game. Stokes conceded that he was no longer able to give his 100 percent to the team in the ODI format and the demands of playing all three formats of the game in one of the busiest sporting calendars was too tough to handle.

Stokes, who made his ODI debut in 2011, played 104 matches and scored 2919 runs and picked up 74 wickets. The all-rounder played a key role in helping England win their maiden men’s 50-over World Cup title in 2019.

Taking to Instagram, Virat Kohli responded to Ben Stokes’s retirement post.

“You’re the most competitive bloke I’ve ever played against. Respect,” Kohli wrote.

Screengrab from Instagram

Stokes, who was recently appointed as the England Test captain following Joe Root’s resignation from the top job, struggled to get going against India in the 3-match ODI series. The all-rounder, who was at his very best with the ball in their win over the Asian giants in the rescheduled 5th Test in Birmingham, managed just 48 runs across 3 ODIs without being able to pick up a wicket.

Earlier in the day, former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin called Ben Stokes’s decision ‘selfless’.

“No one listens to his body better than the player himself. A well thought, selfless decision by a great player who gave his best to England cricket,” Azharuddin said.

Explaining his decision, Stokes had said he did not want to take up another player’s spot in the ODI squad, knowing fully well that he won’t be at his 100 percent in the 50-over format of the game.

“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 said.

Also Read: Tussi na jaao: Ben Stokes’s decision to retire from ODIs leaves fans emotional

Also Read: Ben Stokes explains ODI retirement: 3 formats unsustainable for me

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