Alastair Cook, England’s all-time leading Test scorer and former captain, announced his retirement from international cricket on Monday. The prolific left-hander, who scored 12,254 runs from 160 Tests, will play his last Test match against India – the same team he debuted against, 12 years back – at The Oval.
Currently placed sixth in the all-time list of Test’s leading run-getters, Cook’s form has been a concern for sometime now, and pressure was mounting on the 33-year-old to deliver. Year 2018 has seen Cook struggle like never before, scoring 298 runs from nine Test matches at a sorry average of 18.62. In the ongoing series against India, Cook has managed just 96 runs from four Tests, failing to reach 30 even once.
Cook also played 92 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) for England, scoring 3204 runs at top of the order, However, it was in the longer format that the Essex batsman earned his straps, ending his career with most Test runs, most Test runs as skipper, most Tests, and most Test centuries for England.
Cook will play his final Test at The Oval, but he will continue to feature for Essex in the next season.
“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,” said Cook in an England and Wales Cricket Board statement.
“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,” 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.
“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.”
England took an unassailable 3-1 lead in their five-match series against India with a 60-run win in the fourth Test at Southampton on Sunday.
The England selectors have yet to announce their squad for the fifth Test at The Oval, which starts on Friday.
But it would be a major surprise if Cook was not allowed one last Test appearance prior to his international retirement.