Nasser Hussain reacts to Ben Stokes’ ODI retirement and lambasts ‘joke’ ICC scheduling

Nasser Hussain has criticised the International Cricket Council following Ben Stokes’ shock decision to retire from the 50-over format.

Stokes, who remains England's Test captain, has called time on his one-day international career, just three years after leading his nation to 2019 World Cup glory. 

Since that historic moment, the 31-year-old has played nine ODIs due to a combination of injuries, a mental health break and workload management.

The England star referenced the "unsustainable" schedule in his statement.

Former England captain Nasser Hussain has since shared his thoughts on the matter, telling Sky Sports: "The issue is not with the ECB, Rob Key or Ben Stokes.

"The issue is with the schedule. If the ICC just keep putting on ICC events, and the individual boards just keep filling in the gaps with as much cricket as possible, then eventually these cricketers will say 'I'm done'.

"Ben Stokes is done in one format aged 31, which can't be right really. The schedule needs looking at, it's a bit of a joke at the moment."

Stokes will make one final international ODI appearance - his 150th in total - as England take on South Africa on Tuesday.

After that one final outing at his home ground of Chester-le-Street, the player will solely focus on Test captaincy and his Twenty20 career.

However, Hussain believes that Stokes would have been better serves missing some games rather than retiring from the format all together.

Hussain said: "You thought that he would be looked after as far as being rested from various white-ball tournaments and formats.

"To completely knock 50-over cricket on the head is a massive surprise. Maybe they could say 'Look, just have the time off that you need. We understand your workload, but we'd still like to consider you for the main world events.'

"He's so important as a player, but I guess Ben Stokes is not the sort to hold people back. He said as much in his statement and I don't think he would like it if it was the other way round.

"He hasn't bowled that many overs this summer and I think his body is failing him a little bit.

"Sometimes it just hits you that I can't do this format anymore and the only thing you are in control of is your own retirement.

"It's disappointing news to say the least. But if you're a multi-format, multi-dimensional England Test match captain like Ben Stokes, who throws himself into his job 100 per cent on and off the field, eventually something is going to have to give.

"It's a reflection of where the cricketing schedule is at the moment. It is madness for players."

READ MORE: Ben Stokes announces retirement from one-day internationals to focus on being Test captain

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