England Test captain Ben Stokes believes the quality of international cricket is affected by the sport’s scheduling.
Stokes retired from one-day internationals this summer, saying it was “unsustainable” for him to play in all three formats.
Speaking to the Today show on BBC Radio FourStokes, who played a leading role in bringing England to 50 World Cup wins in 2019, said: “It really impacts multi-format players and people who want to play all three forms.
“Obviously you want international cricket to be at the highest level whenever you can, but over the last few years I think you’ve seen a lot of different teams come in, a lot of different players come in, go out, rest.
“And I don’t think that’s the way to go for international cricket. Programming and all that stuff, I think, just doesn’t get as much attention as it should.”
England have played five Test series in 2022, winning the last three – with nine wins in their last 10 Tests – after Stokes took over as captain and Brendon McCullum as head coach this summer .
Their commitment to attacking cricket revitalized the team, and the renewed enthusiasm it generated in the format was heartening for Stokes.
“Over the last few years we’ve seen Test cricket talk in ways that I don’t like, losing its focus on the fans and everyone else with all the new formats and T20 franchise competitions across the world,” Stokes said. .
“We understand that there are so many opportunities for individuals away from Test cricket, but for me Test cricket is so, so important to this game and should always be. I love playing Test of cricket.
“I felt like we could do something different. To take the results and all that kind of stuff away from the worries and the mindset of the teams members, I think that was a great point. departure.
“If people show up and can get really excited about the day of cricket they’re going to come and watch, I feel like you’ve already won.
“We know we have a really special opportunity here to do something bigger than ourselves and we have a group of players who understand that.”
Stokes is ‘very proud’ of his mental health break
Stokes’ impressive year as Test skipper in 2022 came after a six-month break from cricket last year due to a finger injury and to prioritize his mental health.
“I felt like I obviously needed a break, and I needed help to get back to where I am today and to get back on the pitch after taking the break,” Stokes said.
“I’ve never really had a problem with coming out and expressing my feelings and being open about it, because obviously I detailed a lot in my documentary that I did on my hiatus and how I felt, and the steps I took to bring myself back to a certain place.
“From all of this, I can’t tell you how much pride I felt doing this, and some of the messages I got from people I don’t know who have never met me. But that’s why I took great pride in getting out of it, putting myself in the public eye, and that really helped a lot of people.
“I feel like men in particular, because that’s where the stigma is, the more men who can do it, great, because I think if you do it, you going to help many more people around the world who are in a situation similar to yours.”