Stokes: Cricket's intense schedule is having a negative impact on quality

By Sports Desk December 26, 2022

England Test captain Ben Stokes believes the quality of international cricket has been damaged by the sport's packed schedule.

Stokes, who led his country to a historic 3-0 series win over Pakistan last week, retired from one-day internationals earlier this year, stating it was "unsustainable" for him to play in all three formats of the game.

And the 31-year-old thinks the intense schedule needs to be addressed to give players the best chance of performing at their highest level. 

"It really has an impact on the multi-format players and people who want to play all three forms," he told the Today programme on BBC Radio Four.

"Obviously you want international cricket to be at the highest standard whenever you possibly can but over the last few years I think you've seen a lot of different squads being picked, a lot of different players coming in, coming out, being rested.

"And I don't think that's the way for international cricket to go. The scheduling and everything like that I think just doesn't get as much attention given to it as it should."

Stokes took a six-month break from the sport last year to prioritise his mental health – a decision he looks back on with pride.

"I felt I needed to obviously take a break, and I felt I needed some help to get me back to where I am today, and to get me back on the field from after I took the break," he added.

"I didn't ever really have an issue with coming out and expressing my feelings and opening up about it, because obviously I went into detail a lot in my documentary that I did about my break and how I was feeling, and the steps I took to get me back to a certain place.

"Out of all of that I can't tell you how much pride that I felt in myself in doing that, and some of the messages I received from people I don't know who have never met me.

"But that's why I took huge pride out of it, putting myself in the public eye, and that it's actually really helped a lot of people.

"I feel as if men in particular, because that's where the stigma is, the more men that can do it, great, because I feel if you do, you're going to help a lot more people around the world who are in a similar situation to you."

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