Ben Stokes. (Image Credits: Getty)
England’s newly-appointed Test captain Ben Stokes believes the cricketing schedule needs a rethink, stating that the workload is enormous. The 30-year old conceded that any cricketer would find it difficult to feature in all three formats consistently in today’s era.
Since COVID-19 emerged in late 2019, England have been one of the most active international teams on the field, thereby spending a lot of time within the bio-bubble. This has been one of the most significant factors why their performances in Test cricket have declined.
Stokes, who will start his full-time stint against New Zealand on June 2nd at Lord’s, labeled the schedule ‘ridiculous’ and that it needs revisiting. The 30-year-old referred to the clashing of England’s two-Test series with a three-game ODI rubber against the Netherlands in June, saying:
“The schedule definitely is something that needs looking at. It’s ridiculous the amount of cricket that is expected of people to play. The fact there is a Test match and a one-day series overlapping sums it up. It really needs looking at from a workload point of view, it is just so much. I want to play as much as I can for England and in an ideal world you would have a schedule that allows you to play everything, but unfortunately that is not possible. My No 1 priority is Test cricket at the moment so I have to prioritise that over white ball,” Stokes said, as quoted by The Guardian.
Notably, England played nine and 15 Tests in 2020 and 2021, respectively, more than any other full-member nation. Stokes, one of the fittest cricketers, cited mental health struggles in August 2021 before taking a break from all cricket for six months.
“There are so many people I could look at” – Ben Stokes on the Test vice-captain
England cricket team. (Image Credits: Getty)
The New Zealand-born player claimed to have ample options for the vice-captain role in England’s Test side. However, the 30-year-old is inclined to give younger candidates more responsibility and groom them for the future.
“There are so many people I could look at. What I do think needs to be considered is, should it be one of the more senior players or am I going to pick one of the younger players extra responsibility? I think I was 24 or 25 and we have so many players at that sort of age. It would almost be stupid not to give them that extra responsibility when we want to give this next generation the opportunity to perform in an England jumper.”
Stokes succeeds Joe Root as England’s red-ball skipper after the latter invited criticism due to their poor Test-match results. The all-rounder has an uphill task to lift the side, who have slid to number six in the Test rankings.