Alastair Cook announces retirement from international cricket

Alastair Cook at the opening of Stewkley Vicarage Cricket Club's new nets in 2016
Alastair Cook at the opening of Stewkley Vicarage Cricket Club's new nets in 2016

Alastair Cook, England's leading run scorer in test match cricket has announced his retirement from the international game today (Monday).

Cook, who married his wife Alice at Stewkley Methodist Church in January 2012, is England's highest run scorer in test cricket with 12,254.

In a statement issued through the England and Wales Cricket Board, Cook said: "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.

“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 teammates 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.

“There are too many people to thank individually, but a special mention must go to the Barmy Army and all supporters for their constant encouragement for the team and also a 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.

“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.”

Cook, who left Stewkley Methodist Church on a tractor after his wedding, opened the new nets at Stewkley Vicarage Cricket Club (see image above) in 2016.

He has also been seen at the Bucks County Show over the years when cricket commitments allow including in 2013 when he helped present some of the prizes.

Cook will still play cricket for his county Essex although there are reports that when he does hang up his bat, he may move into farming on the family farm in Hockliffe, Bedfordshire, rather than punditry.