lastair Cook has announced his retirement from professional cricket, bringing an end to a 20-year career.
The opening batter’s contract at Essex, the county he first played for in 2003, expired at the end of the season, and he has confirmed he will not be extending his deal after making the decision to walk away from the sport.
Cook retired from Test cricket in 2018 but opted to continue playing for for Essex, top-scoring for his team as they won the County Championship a year later.
The 38-year-old retirement decision has been confirmed after the conclusion of this season, as Essex finished second behind champions Surrey, as he retires with 26,643 first-class runs to his name and 74 centuries.
Cook said in a statement: “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.”
No England batter has more Test runs or centuries than Cook, who captained his country for 59 of the 161 Test matches he played over the course of 12 years.
He led the team to two Ashes victories, both on home soil, and he scored a remarkable 766 runs during the 2010/11 series, which remains the only time England have won the urn in Australia since 1986/87.
Cook’s international career came to a fairytale conclusion five years ago, as he made a 33rd Test century in his final match against India at the Oval in front of his family and friends.
“Although my England career came to an end in 2018, I remain blown away by the amount of affection I receive from England supporters,” Cook continued.
“ Wherever I have travelled, you have been there with your enthusiasm, kind words and unshakable belief. English cricket really does have the best fans in the world.
“I will never underestimate the privilege I have had to play cricket. I will always be grateful for what the game has given to me. Now, I hope the Bedfordshire Farmers will find space for a has-been ‘all-rounder’ somewhere in their lower order.”