England great Alastair Cook on Monday announced that he would retire from international cricket at the end of the ongoing home series against India, with the opening batsman saying the time was right as he had "nothing left in the tank". The 33-year-old Essex left-hander is England's all-time leading Test run-scorer with 12,254 runs at an average of 44.88 including 32 hundreds, while his run of 158 consecutive Test appearances is a world record. "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.
Former and present cricketers paid rich tributes to the England opener for his contribution to the game. Former England captain Michael Vaughan called Cook the nicest cricketer. "No player has given more to the England cricket shirt .. No player has got more out of there ability .. No player has shown more mental strength than Alastair Cook .. More than that he is the nicest Cricketer we have ever had .. Thanks for all the memories Cookie .. #CookRetires", he tweeted.
No player has given more to the England cricket shirt .. No player has got more out of there ability .. No player has shown more mental strength than Alastair Cook .. More than that he is the nicest Cricketer we have ever had .. Thanks for all the memories Cookie .. #CookRetires— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) September 3, 2018
Fondly remember Alastair Cook's debut where he scored a 60 and a century in Nagpur. We were struggling in the match and I got to contribute with a 91. But such was our bench strength then, that I had to be benched for the next. https://t.co/dXIpOrA7hR— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) September 3, 2018
Cook said he will continue playing County cricket and "can't wait to get fully involved" with Essex in 2019. 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.
The England selectors 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 was not allowed one last Test appearance prior to his international retirement.
(With AFP inputs)