Alastair Cook has announced his retirement from international cricket.
The fifth and final Test against India at The Oval will be his last.
“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,” he said.
“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. 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.
“There are too many people to thank individually, but a special mention must go 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.
“My family and I have had 12 wonderful years fulfilling my dreams and this could not have been done without them. So I wish to thank my parents and brothers, my wife, Alice, and her family for their quiet, unwavering support behind the scenes. As cricketers, who travel frequently, we often don’t realise just how important our families are to our success.
“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.”
Cook is England’s highest ever run-scorer in Tests, boasting a tally of 12,254 runs in 160 Tests so far.
He began his career in 2006 when, on tour with England Lions in the Caribbean, he was flown to Nagpur to make his debut, battling jet lag to make a hundred against India.
Since then he has gone on to score 32 hundreds and 56 fifties, making him Test cricket’s most prolific opening batsman ever. He also captained England – he was full-time skipper from 2012-2017 – a record 59 times in Tests.
Other than a double hundred in Melbourne last winter, he has failed to make a century in his last 15 Tests, and his top score in the current series is 29 at Trent Bridge.