Nasser Hussain says Ben Stokes' one-day international retirement came as a "massive surprise" but is understandable due an "absolutely crazy" schedule.
Stokes has announced he will bow out from the 50-over format on his home ground The Riverside on Tuesday, when England start a three-match series against South Africa.
The news came on the back of Stokes announcing he would sit out the T20s versus with Proteas and The Hundred with Northern Superchargers, following a dream start to his Test captaincy.
It follows ex-skipper Eoin Morgan's decision to retire from the international game, and leaves successor Jos Buttler and head coach Matthew Mott with another conundrum in the world champions' middle order.
Stokes said playing all three formats for his country was "unsustainable" for him and although former England skipper Hussain was taken aback by his announcement, he can understand it.
"It came as a surprise, to be honest," he wrote in his Sky Sports column. "To completely knock 50-over cricket on the head is a massive surprise.
"You thought he would be looked after, in terms of being rested from various white-ball tournaments and formats - he'd already announced he was going to miss white-ball series', and The Hundred.
"I guess it's the schedule. The cricketing schedule is absolutely crazy at the moment. If you just play in the one format - say Test matches - it's absolutely fine.
"But if you're a multi-format, multi-dimensional player, and even a Test match captain like Stokes, who throws himself into his job 100 per cent on and off the field, eventually something's going to have to give.
"For Ben, it is 50-over cricket, which is a real shame because he gave us and England fans their greatest day for a very long time in 2019, a day we'll never forget with that World Cup final win.
"He's a very bright, smart cricketer, he's a winner and he's a fighter."