Alastair Cook has announced he will retire from international cricket following the completion of England’s Test series against India at the Oval next week.
The 33-year-old departs as one of his country’s most decorated players. He is England’s all-time leading run scorer in Test cricket, and captained the side more times than any other player.
Cook admitted he had been considering the move for some time, saying: “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.
“The thought of not sharing the dressing room again with some of my team-mates 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 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.
“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 made his debut for England in March 2006 against India in Nagpur, and has gone on to score 12,254 runs in 160 Tests.
He took up the England captaincy in 2012 and led the side in 59 Test matches, winning 24 of them.
Highlights of Cook’s reign as England captain include two home Ashes victories, as well as series wins in India and South Africa.
The opening batsman resigned as captain in 2017, but has continued to be a key part of his replacement Joe Root’s regime.
Cook’s final Test begins on Friday, live on Sky Sports, and he can move up to fifth on the all-time list of leading Test run scorers if he scores more than 146 against India at the Oval.
England have already secured an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-Test series following their 60-run victory over India at the Ageas Bowl on Sunday.
While he is stepping away from the international scene, Cook has confirmed he will continue to play for his county Essex.