Cricket

Cook leaves the kitchen

England opener to retire from international cricket after India series

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

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LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Alastair Cook announced yesterday he would retire from international cricket after the fifth Test against India, with England's leading Test run-scorer saying he had “nothing left in the tank”.

The 33-year-old Essex left-hander has amassed 12,254 runs at 44.88, including 32 hundreds, while his run of 158 consecutive Test appearances is a world record.

But the former England captain, who has played in 160 Tests in total, has struggled for runs recently and averages a meagre 18.62 from nine Tests this year.

“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,” the four-time Ashes-winner added.

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.

But Cook, who scored a century on Test debut against India at Nagpur in 2006, has managed just 109 runs from his seven innings in the series at 15.57.

He is sixth in the all-time list of leading Test run-scorers, having surpassed mentor Graham Gooch's previous England record of 8,900 runs three years ago.

Gooch was also a predecessor of Cook's as an Essex and England opener, as well as Test skipper.

“There are too many people to thank individually, but a special mention must go to Graham Gooch,” said Cook, who is to continue playing for Essex.

“As a seven-year-old I queued for his autograph outside Essex County Cricket Club, and years later was so fortunate to have him mentoring me,” he said.

Gooch, now the president of England's Professional Cricketers' Association, paid tribute to Cook by saying: “Alastair has been the rock of England's batting for the last 12 years since he made his debut...He is a genuine legend of English cricket.”

Former England captain Nasser Hussain described Cook — about to become a father for the third time — as a “truly remarkable cricketer”.

Speaking to Sky Sports he said: “To carry on this long... You'd think somewhere along the line you'd lose form or fitness. Huge credit to the lad. He's been England's best player.”

Alec Stewart, another former England skipper, paid tribute to Cook's robustness, telling BBC Radio: “That record of over 12,000 runs, if someone breaks it they're very, very good players, but it will take a long, long time to get there.”

England 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 were omitted.

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