Former England skipper Alastair Cook, who announced his retirement from international cricket on Monday, stepped out to play his final Test against India at The Oval in London on Friday. With Joe Root winning the toss and opting to bat, opening batsman Cook walked out of the dressing room to a rousing reception from the crowd. As a mark of respect for England's most-decorated batsman, the Indian team gave him a guard of honour as he made his way out onto the pitch. Cook walked out alongside fellow opener Keaton Jennings as the Indian players lined up to applaud a glorious career. Team India skipper Virat Kohli then congratulated the 33-year-old, who will be bidding goodbye to a 12-year career at the end of the ongoing Test.
Cook is playing his 161st Test match and he has scored over 12,000 runs in the longest format of the game. He also holds the record of playing the most Tests and scoring the most runs for England. Cook will continue to play for Essex in the English County following the end of his Test career.
In his first media interaction since the announcement, Cook had revealed that he had considered hanging his boots for the last six months before finally announcing the end of his international career.
"It's hard to put it into words but over the last six months there have been signs in my mind this was going to happen," Cook said.
Interestingly, legendary Don Bradman also played his final Test in 1948 at The Oval, where he was tragically dismissed for a duck, missing out on what would have been a perfect Test average of 100.
Whereas, six players have scored centuries in their farewell Test at the Oval - Reggie Duff (1905), Jack Sharp (1909), Bill Ponsford (1934), Maurice Leyland (1938), Kenneth Weekes (1939) and Raman Subba Row (1961).