LONDON: Former England captain Alastair Cook, country’s highest run-getter in Test cricket, has decided to retire after the fifth and final match against India at the Oval, starting September 7.
The 33-year-old Cook, who will call time on his career after playing 161 Tests, has so far scored 12,254 runs at an average of 44.88 with 32 hundreds and 56 half centuries.
His highest Test score of 294 came against India at Birmingham during the 2011 series. Cook has had a poor series against India so far, scoring only 109 runs in seven innings across four Test matches.
His place in the Test side was under scanner and the former skipper could very well read what was on cards.
“After much thought and deliberation over the last few months I have decided to announce my retirement from international cricket at the end of this Test series against India,” Cook said in an ECB statement.
“Although it is a sad day, I can do so with a big smile on my face knowing I have given everything and there is nothing left in the tank.
I have achieved more than I could have ever imagined and feel very privileged to have played for such a long time alongside some of the greats of the English game,” Cook added further.
He, however, said that he would miss the dressing room environment.
“The thought of not sharing the dressing room, again, with some of my teammates was the hardest part of my decision, but I know the timing is right,” he said.
As a batsman, Cook certainly didn’t possess the silken grace of David Gower or the genius of Kevin Pietersen but his unwavering concentration and the ability to accumulate runs puts him among the most prolific scorers in the game.
One of the high points of his captaincy will certainly be leading England to a 2-1 series win against India in India back in 2012.
He successfully used spin duo of Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar during that series.
Not just captaincy, Cook also excelled with the bat during the 2012 series, scoring 176 at Motera, 122 at Mumbai and 190 at Kolkata.
“I have loved cricket my whole life from playing in the garden as a child and will never underestimate how special it is to pull on an England shirt.
So I know it is the right time to give the next generation of young cricketers their turn to entertain us and feel the immense pride that comes with representing your country,” Cook opined.
A product of Essex, Cook thanked former England captain Graham Gooch for his role in shaping up his career.
“There are too many people to thank individually, but a special mention must go to the Barmy Army and all supporters for their constant encouragement for the team and also a special mention to Graham Gooch.
“As a seven year-old, I queued for his autograph outside Essex County Cricket Club and years later was so fortunate to have him mentoring me.
Graham was my sounding board, especially in the early years of my career, spending hour after hour throwing balls at me with his dog stick.
He made me realise you always need to keep improving whatever you are trying to achieve,” said Cook while paying rich tribute to Gooch.
Cook, however, informed that he will be associated with the Essex County in some capacity during the coming season.
“I would also like to thank Essex County Cricket Club for their help and support ever since I was 12, and I can’t wait to get fully involved with them in the 2019 season.
I wish the England team every success in the future, and I will be watching with great excitement,” he said. (PTI)