England white-ball captain Jos Buttler has described Ben Stokes as “once-in-a-generation player”, while his predecessor Eoin Morgan hailed him as a “true leader” after the star all-rounder retired from ODIs, leaving the cricket world shocked.
The chief architect of England’s historic 2019 World Cup triumph, Stokes ended his 105-match ODI career with a forgettable 5-run innings at his home ground in Durham as England lost to South Africa by 62 runs to trail 0-1 in the three-match series.
“People who play like Ben are once-in-a-generation players, so it’s a good challenge for us (as an ODI side) to work out our best way forward as a team without him,” Buttler said after the match.
“From myself and all England fans, we want to say thank you for everything he has done in this format of the game.
“Three years ago (the 2019 World Cup final) will live long in the memory but every day he turns up, whether that be for training or in a match, he puts in 100 per cent. He has been a fantastic ambassador for us in ODI cricket.” The 31-year-old Stokes has said it was “unsustainable” for him to play all three formats in a “jam-packed” cricketing calendar.
The all-rounder’s ODI stats read 2,924 runs, three hundreds, 74 wickets with a career-best 5 for 61 against Australia in September 2013. “We will miss him and it’s bittersweet as an England fan. There’s a bit of sadness that Ben is no longer available in this form of the game but our loss in ODI cricket is certainly going to be England’s gain in Test cricket,” Buttler said.
Stokes, however, will continue playing the T20Is while leading the Test side.
“That’s (Tests) his favoured format and his priority, especially now he’s captain, and I’m sure it will give him much more longevity in the purest form of the game,” Buttler said.
Former skipper Morgan, who had stepped down from the role earlier this summer, too was “sad” about Stokes’ ODI retirement.
“He is a true leader who drags people with him and makes people better players by making them believe anything is possible,” Morgan told Sky Sports Cricket.
“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.”