Alastair Cook: England great to retire from international cricket after fifth Test

Alastair Cook: England great to retire from international cricket after fifth Test

England’s highest Test run-scorer Alastair Cook will retire from international cricket after this week’s final Test against India.

The opener, 33, has scored 12,254 runs and made 32 centuries in 160 Tests – all England records.

“There is nothing left in the tank,” said Cook, who captained his country in a record 59 Tests.

The fifth Test of the series, in which England have an unassailable 3-1 lead, starts on Friday at The Oval.

Cook is sixth on the all-time list of Test run-scorers and has made a record 11,627 runs as an opener.

He added: “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.”

However, he has struggled this year, averaging 18.62 in 16 innings, and has not scored a fifty in the current series against India.

Leading Test run-scorers
Batsman Runs Average Tests
Sachin Tendulkar (Ind) 15,921 53.78 200
Ricky Ponting (Aus) 13,378 51.85 168
Jacques Kallis (SA) 13,289 55.37 166
Rahul Dravid (Ind) 13,288 52.31 164
Kumar Sangakkara (SL) 12,400 57.40 134
Alastair Cook (Eng) 12,254 44.88 160

‘I know the timing is right’

In a statement, Cook said his decision to retire from international cricket had come after “much thought and deliberation over the last few months”.

He added: “Although it is a sad day, I can do so with a big smile on my face knowing I have given everything.

“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.”

Cook said he will continue playing county cricket and “can’t wait to get fully involved” with Essex in 2019 after signing a three-year contract.

‘No player has given more to the England shirt’

Former England captain Michael Vaughan: “No player has given more to the England cricket shirt. No player has got more out of their ability. No player has shown more mental strength than Alastair Cook. More than that, he is the nicest cricketer we have ever had. Thanks for all the memories Cookie…”

Ex-England captain and Cook’s former coach Graham Gooch: “Alastair has been the rock of England’s batting for the past 12 years 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.”

Former England skipper Nasser Hussain on Sky Sports: “He has been England’s greatest batsman. He is mentally the toughest cricketer I have ever seen. He has been a truly remarkable cricketer.”

Ex-England captain Alec Stewart on BBC Radio 5 live: “He has timed it perfectly. He will still go out as England’s greatest run-scorer. We won’t fully appreciate him until he has gone.

“If someone breaks that England runs record then they will be a very good player and it will take them a long time to get there. He is the heartbeat of the team in such an unassuming way.”

Ex-England spinner and team-mate Graeme Swann on BBC Radio 5 live:“He is one of the nicest men alive. There is a reason why he has lasted so long. He always put in 100% but would look and appreciate the other side of life.”

International Cricket Council chief executive David Richardson: “He is a tremendous example to young kids of how to play the game, with dedication, passion and never showing any kind of dissent.”

From last-minute replacement to England legend

The left-hander made his Test debut at the age of 21, replacing Michael Vaughan against India at Nagpur in 2006, and hit an unbeaten century in the second innings.

He missed the third match of that series because of illness, but has made a record 158 consecutive Test appearances since.

Cook won four of the seven Ashes series in which he played, scoring 766 runs at an average of 127.66 in 2010-11 as England triumphed in Australia for the first time in 24 years.

Cook took over as captain from Andrew Strauss in 2012 and went on to win 24 of his Tests in charge. Only Vaughan has more with 26, although Cook lost a record 22 Tests as skipper.

In 2012, Cook led England to their first victory in India for 27 years.

He won two Ashes series as captain – at home in 2013 and 2015 – but was whitewashed 5-0 down under in 2013-14.

Cook became the first Englishman to reach 10,000 Test runs in 2016, although England lost 4-0 in India that winter and he resigned as captain in February 2017.

While he hit 243 against West Indies at Edgbaston last summer, he went through another lean spell before making an unbeaten 244 against Australia in the Boxing Day Test, his fifth double century.

He has passed 50 once in 16 innings since then.

Cook formed a prodigious opening partnership with Strauss, scoring a combined 4,711 runs in 117 innings between 2006 and 2012 – the most by an England opening pair and third most for any country.

Following Strauss’ retirement in 2012, Cook has had 12 different opening partners.

Cook also scored 3,204 runs at an average of 36.40 in 92 one-day internationals, but has not played since 2014. He made four Twenty20 appearances for England.

The record-breaker

  • Most Test runs for England – 12,254
  • Most Test centuries for England – 32
  • Most 150+ scores by England player – 11
  • Most Test appearances for England – 160
  • Most consecutive Test appearances by any player – 158
  • Most Tests as England captain – 59
  • Most catches by England fielder – 173

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