LONDON: Former Ashes-winning England cricket captain Alastair Cook has decided to retire from Test matches after this week’s final Test against India at The Oval.

Cook, who captained England in a record 59 Tests, will continue to play for his county, Essex.

It will bring to an end a remarkable unbroken run of 160 Tests for the opening batsman, who is also England’s all-time leading run-scorer with 12,254 runs – the sixth most prolific batsman in Test history – and 32 hundreds in a stellar 12-year career at the highest level. Despite his recent difficulties, Cook’s average is still just a shade less than 45.

In a statement, 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.

“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 can’t wait to get fully involved with Essex next season and I wish England every success in the future. I will be watching with great excitement.”

Cook scored a century on his Test debut in Nagpur in 2006 and his fine performances helped clinch series wins in Australia in 2010-11, and India in 2012.

He resigned the captaincy in 2017 and, apart from two double-centuries last year, against West Indies at Edgbaston in August and against Australia at Melbourne in December, he has struggled against the new ball.

In this series against India, his highest score is 29 and he averages 15.6 in the four Tests so far. A far cry from his most confident days, Cook has not looked to have an answer to the seam and swing of Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah.