Alastair Cook to RETIRE from Test cricket at the end of India series

ALASTAIR COOK QUITS! England’s greatest-ever batsman retires after 161 Tests and more than 12,000 runs as he insists ‘the timing is right’ ahead of send-off at The Oval

  • Alastair Cook will retire from Test cricket after the fifth Test against India
  • Left-handed opener is England’s highest Test run scorer of all time with 12,254
  • He has made 32 Test tons but has struggled at the top of the order this year
  • The 33-year-old batsman made his debut against India in Nagpur back in 2006
  • Cook will keep playing for Essex but his last Test match will come at The Oval
  • ‘Although it is a sad day, I can do so with a big smile on my face,’ Cook said

Alastair Cook will play his 161st and final Test at The Oval on Friday, bringing the curtain down on a record-breaking international career at the age of 33.

Cook has struggled for runs all year, averaging just 18 in nine Tests in 2018, and has a top score of just 29 from seven innings in the current series against India.

He will now have one final chance to add to his England-record Test tally of 12,254 runs before calling it a day.

England’s highest run scorer Alastair Cook will retire from Test cricket after this India series

The 33-year-old has scored an incredible 12,254 runs in 160 matches at an average of 44.88

But the left-hander has struggled at the top of the order in the five-match series against India

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‘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,’ he said.


Test apperances: 160

Innings: 289

Runs: 12,2254

Average: 44.88 

High score: 294 vs India (2011)

Fifties: 56

Centuries: 32

Catches: 173 

Debut: March 2006 (vs India)

Recent scores: 12, 17, 17, 29, 21, 0, 13  

‘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. 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 team-mates was the hardest part of my decision, but I know the timing is right.

‘I have loved cricket my whole life, from playing in the garden as a child, and will never underestimate how special it is to pull on an England shirt. So I know it is the right time to give the next generation of young cricketers their turn to entertain us and feel the immense pride that comes with representing your country.’

Unless Cook scores 147 runs at The Oval, which would allow him to overhaul Kumar Sangakkara’s tally of 12,400, he will finish his career as the sixth-highest run-scorer in Test history. Apart from Sangakkara, only Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Jacques Kallis and Rahul Dravid have made more – though none spent half their career facing the new ball on English pitches. 

The opener made his first of 32 Test centuries on his debut against India back in March 2006

Cook with his mother Stephanie, wife Alice and father Graham after receiving his CBE in 2017

Cook holds his young daughter Elsie on the pitch after England faced South Africa in 2015


England’s highest run scorers (all-time) 

Alastair Cook –  12,254*

Graham Gooch – 8,900

Alec Stewart – 8,463

David Gower – 8.231

Kevin Pietersen – 8,181

Geoffrey Boycott – 8,114

Most Test hundreds for England (all time)

Alastair Cook – 32*

Kevin Pietersen – 23

Wally Hammond – 22

Colin Cowdrey – 22

Geoffrey Boycott – 22

Ian Bell – 22 

Most Test fifties for England (all-time)

Alastair Cook – 56*

Ian Bell – 46

Graham Gooch – 46

Mike Atherton – 46

Alec Stewart – 45

Geoffrey Boycott – 42 

Cook has so far totalled 32 hundreds and 56 fifties, and averaged 44.88, his greatest series coming in Australia in 2010-11, when he hit 766 runs at an average of 127 and helped England claim a 3-1 win.

He also captained England in 59 of his Tests, famously leading them to victory in India in 2012-13, home Ashes wins in 2013 and 2015, and a series triumph in South Africa in 2015-16. On the other side of the ledger were a 5-0 whitewash in Australia in 2013-14, and a 4-0 defeat in India three winters later, after which he passed on the reins to Joe Root.

His white-ball international career ended when he was sacked as one-day captain not long before the 2015 World Cup. He played in 92 ODIs, averaging 36 and scoring five hundreds, and in four Twenty20 internationals. 

He was never pretty to watch, but it’s hard to imagine that many more mentally resilient players ever took the field for England. With winter tours of Sri Lanka and the West Indies coming up, the path is now clear for Surrey’s Rory Burns to become the first new opener of the post-Cook era. Cook, meanwhile, will continue to play for Essex in next season’s County Championship.

Cook kisses the urn after captaining England to victory over Australia in the Ashes in 2015

‘There are too many people to thank individually,’ said Cook. ‘But a special mention must go to the Barmy Army and all supporters for their constant encouragement for the team, and also special mention to Graham Gooch.

‘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. Graham was my sounding board, especially in the early years of my career, spending hour after hour throwing balls at me with his dog stick. He made me realise you always need to keep improving, whatever you are trying to achieve.


Sachin Tendulkar (IND) – 15,921

Ricky Ponting (AUS) – 13,378

Jacques Kallis (RSA) – 13,289

Rahul Dravid (IND) – 13,288

Kumar Sangakkara (SL) – 12,400

Alastair Cook (ENG) – 12,254*

‘My family and I have had 12 wonderful years fulfilling my dreams and this could not have been done without them. So I wish to thank my parents and brothers, my wife, Alice, and her family for their quiet, unwavering support behind the scenes. As cricketers, who travel frequently, we often don’t realise just how important our families are to our success.

‘I would also like to thank Essex County Cricket Club for their help and support ever since I was 12, and I can’t wait to get fully involved with them in the 2019 season. I wish the England team every success in the future, and I will be watching with great excitement.’ 

Former England captain and Sportsmail columnist Nasser Hussain led the tributes to Cook, claiming: ‘The game and the country are very, very proud of a cricketer that was produced at Bedford school but played here at Essex.’

His greatest series came in Australia in 2010-11, when he hit 766 runs at an average of 127

‘In a batting sense, your modern batsmen are all about attacking and can they survive and can they play long periods,’ he told Sky Sports.

‘In Alastair Cook you had someone who for last 16 years or more has worked hard for his runs, and will continue to work hard for his runs. That was what it was about for him: surviving, giving his best and never giving his wicket away.’

On what kind of send off the opener will want, Hussain said: ‘First of all runs, that’s what he would love more than anything else. The last thing Alastair will want are a couple of low scores and everyone standing for him. What he will desperately want is to dig deep just once more, get a score and walk off.’ 

He added: ‘I am sure the Indian cricket team will give him a guard of honour, all due respect that he deserves.. but more importantly, as a cricketing nation we have all appreciated Alastair as a player and a human being. The series is done and dusted but he will just want one more special moment and whatever happens at The Oval he has been England’s greatest batsman ever’. 

His former captain Michael Vaughan labelled Cook: ‘the nicest cricketer we have ever had.

He wrote on Twitter: No player has given more to the England cricket shirt .. No player has got more out of there (sic) ability… no player has shown more mental strength than Alastair Cook… Thanks for all the memories Cookie

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