Ben Stokes a true leader; incredibly sad to see him retire from ODIs at 31: Eoin Morgan

by IANS |

Durham, July 20 (IANS) Former England white-ball captain Eoin Morgan hailed Test skipper Ben Stokes as a "true leader" and lamented the fact that the all-rounder is leaving the ODI format at the age of 31.

On the eve of England's first ODI against South Africa at his home ground in Durham, Stokes announced that he would be quitting the format after the match citing the "unsustainable" workload by playing in all three formats in international cricket.

"England will miss his all-round contribution -- on the field and in the changing room. Possibly more so in the changing room. He is a true leader who drags people with him and makes people better players by making them believe anything is possible.

"It was a huge pleasure to be able to take the field with him for such a long time and for him to retire from this form at 31 years of age is incredibly sad," said Morgan, who captained England to winning 2019 World Cup, on Sky Sports Cricket.

In 105 ODIs, Stokes made 2,924 runs in 105 matches, including three hundreds, and took 74 wickets as well. He will be largely remembered for his Player-of-the-Match performance in the 2019 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup final against New Zealand at Lord's, where he slammed an unbeaten 84 to send the match into a Super Over as England claimed their first ODI World Cup title on home soil in the most thrilling of circumstances.

Stokes' team-mate, pacer Mark Wood, who will undergo another surgery on his injured elbow, expressed sadness over missing out on a chance to play alongside him in ODI cricket. Apart from England team-mates, Stokes and Wood are colleagues through domestic side Durham.

"I think Ben will go down as a legend in this format. He won the World Cup in 2019 and it's hard to forget that. He has put so much into it, he was one of the leaders in that group that really stood up for everyone."

"It's sad he didn't get a big score today but he was well appreciated by the crowd. It was great for him he got the ovation he did but it's a sad day. I'm sad that I won't play with him in this format again."

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