- Former captain Alastair Cook is England’s all-time leading Test match goalscorer
- The legendary opening batsman also won four Ashes series during his career
- Cook represented Essex and will go down in history as one of England’s greatest players
Sir Alastair Cook will end one of the most distinguished careers in the history of English cricket.
The former England captain will most likely retire next week at the end of a county season which he still hopes will deliver Essex another league title.
The official news could come as early as Friday when Essex hope to end their home season with a win over Hampshire and stay behind Surrey in the title fight.
Cook is determined to bow out quietly, not wanting to cause a stir as he ends a career in which he became England’s record Test scorer, won the Ashes twice as captain and served his county with distinction.
But Essex want to mark the occasion after Cook’s final home appearance and plan a low-key drinks reception in Chelmsford after they finish their game against Hampshire in honor of Cook and Dan Lawrence, who is leaving for Surrey at the end of the season.
Former England captain Alastair Cook will retire from cricket at the end of the season
Cook is England’s all-time leading Test match run-scorer. In the opening match, he scored 12,472 runs
The 38-year-old also won four Ashes series with England in his extremely successful career
It would certainly be an occasion worth mentioning. The 38-year-old Cook scored 12,472 runs in his 161 Tests, becoming one of the best and most important batsmen in England’s history.
He was also a good enough captain to lead England to the Ashes in 2013 and 2015 and was a key figure in Australia’s incredible victory in 2010-11, when Australia won 3-1 by innings under Andrew Strauss .
Cook’s England career came to a fairytale end when he scored a century in his final Test against India five years ago and the entire Oval emerged as one of the game’s most popular and principled figures.
Since then he has been determined to give back as much as he can to his beloved Essex and has enjoyed five seasons uninterrupted by international commitments, during which he was a strong county run-scorer and had a huge influence in the dressing room.
Cook was again a key figure in both Essex’s championship victory in 2019, when they won the title in dramatic fashion against nearest rivals Somerset in the final game at Taunton, and the Bob Willis Trophy triumph in the one that followed, hit by Covid-19 affected year.
He is still as fit as ever and could do well for Essex in his 40s, just as his mentor Graham Gooch did after his outstanding England career ended.
But Mail Sport understands that he feels he has achieved as much as he could at every level of the game and it is time to clear the way for younger players.
After retiring from Test cricket in 2018, Cook (left) continues to represent his county of Essex
Cook (right) has also built his career as a pundit and will likely do more media work
Cook will now return to the family farm that means so much to him and invest more time in his new career in media, which has seen him become an increasingly confident pundit on the BBC and now TNT Sport.
When a man who began life as a choirboy at St Paul’s Cathedral retires, as expected, after Essex’s final game against Northants at Wantage Road next week, he can look forward to one of the greatest careers of all time and a leading role in one of the greatest England Test teams.
The perfect ending would be for Essex to beat Surrey for the title, while Cook made a duck and scored runs against Northants in the first innings of the current game against Hampshire.
But even if that doesn’t happen – and Surrey are still clear favorites – Cook can look back with great pride at everything he has achieved