London: The, England and Wales Cricket Board congratulated former England Men’s captain Sir Alastair Cook on an extraordinary 20-year career for England and Essex following his retirement announcement.
The left-handed opening batter established himself as an all-time great during a record-breaking England career during which time he played 161 Tests, 59 of those as captain, and scored an England record 12,472 Test runs.
“Today I am announcing my retirement and the end of my career as a professional cricketer,” Cook said in a statement on the Essex website.
“It is not easy to say goodbye. For more than two decades, cricket has been so much more than my job. It has allowed me to experience places I never dreamed I would go, be part of teams that have achieved things I would never have thought possible and, most importantly, created deep friendships that will last a lifetime.
“From the eight-year-old boy who first played for Wickham Bishops Under 11s to now, I end with a strange feeling of sadness mixed with pride. Although above all, I am incredibly happy.
“It is the right time for this part of my life to come to an end. I have always given absolutely everything I possibly have to be the best player I could be, but now I want to make way for the new generation to take over.”
Cook also owns the most Test centuries by an England batter, with 33, and bookended his 12-year Test career with centuries against India on debut in Nagpur and memorably at The Kia Oval in 2018.
ECB Chief, Richard Thompson said, “The standing ovation that Sir Alastair received following his final Test innings will live with me forever.
“It felt like nobody inside The Oval that day wanted to stop applauding a man whose commitment and desire to be the best he could be for his country made him one of the all-time greats. The goodwill for Sir Alastair in that moment was extraordinary and completely deserved.
“Sir Alastair led his country with great dignity and pride, his record with the bat is unsurpassed and he did it in a way that resonated with everyone who was lucky enough to watch him play.
“I am certain that I am not alone in wishing him all the very best in his retirement.”
The 38-year-old won two home Men’s Ashes Series as captain in 2013 and 2015 and was Player of the Series in the historic 2010-11 Ashes Series win in Australia, when he score 766 runs at an average of 127.66.
Cook also captained England Men in One-Day International cricket, making 92 appearances, and scoring five centuries.
He made his first-class debut for Essex at Chelmsford in 2003 and rose to prominence two years later when he scored a double century for his county in a match against the touring Australians.
Cook twice won the LV= Insurance County Championship with Essex – he was the county’s leading runscorer in their 2019 success – and retires from the game having scored 26,643 first-class runs with 74 centuries at an average of 46.41.
Cook was awarded a knighthood in the 2019 New Year’s Honours list for services to cricket.
ECB Chief Executive Officer, Richard Gould said, “Sir Alastair Cook has been a titan of the game whose legacy will not just be embodied in the numerous run-making records he achieved, but also in the leadership and grace that he always displayed during a long and distinguished career.
“He is a role model in every sense of the word and it has been an enduring privilege to witness his extraordinary talent and determination for both England and Essex. His genuine love for the game has always shone through and I wish him all the very best for the future,” he added.