ENGLAND’S all-time record run-scorer Alastair Cook will retire from international cricket after this week’s Oval Test.
Cook, who has made 12,254 runs in a 160-Test career over the past 12 years, issued a statement today confirming the news.
He described it as a “sad day” but says he will retire “with a big smile on my face, knowing I have given everything.”
The former captain, a four-time Ashes winner, added that at the age of 33 “there is nothing left in the tank” to continue to serve beyond this summer as Test opener.
Cook said: “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.
“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, who has indicated he will play on next summer for his county Essex, has endured a lean summer at the top of the order for England — averaging just 15.57 in seven innings against India which have mustered only 109.
He nonetheless stands sixth in the all-time global list of leading Test run-scorers, just above West Indies great Brian Lara.
There has been ongoing debate about his position of late, because of his moderate form, but he is statistically England’s best batsman, having surpassed his own mentor Graham Gooch’s previous high of 8,900 runs three years ago.
Cook added: “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.
“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 voiced his gratitude, among many others, to Gooch, his family and England’s travelling supporters in the “Barmy Army.”
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Gooch called Cook “the rock of England’s batting,” adding: “Alastair has been the rock of England’s batting for the last 12 years since he made his debut and, while we are all sad to see him retire, we must rejoice in what he has done for our country.
“He is a genuine legend of English cricket.
“He is a legend not only because of his performances but because of his attitude, his sacrifices, the way he has carried himself and the example he has set.
“Alastair is a perfect role model and is the image of the game we want to project.
“He is a great ambassador for his sport. He is a great person as well as a great cricketer.”
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