Alastair Cook announces retirement


Today I am announcing my retirement and the end of my career as a professional cricketer.

It is not easy to say goodbye. For more than two decades, cricket has been so much more than my job. It has allowed me to experience places I never dreamed I would go, be part of teams that have achieved things I would never have thought possible and, most importantly, created deep friendships that will last a lifetime.

From the eight-year-old boy who first played for Wickham Bishops Under 11s to now, I end with a strange feeling of sadness mixed with pride. Although above all, I am incredibly happy.

It is the right time for this part of my life to come to an end. I have always given absolutely everything I possibly have to be the best player I could be, but now I want to make way for the new generation to take over.

I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Essex, the county I joined when I was aged 12. I want to say a massive thank you to everyone at Chelmsford for everything you have given to me. All of the fans, members and staff have always been so supportive, patient and generous.

When I ended my international career, I had no idea that I would have five more bonus years playing for Essex. I cannot put into words just how much fun we have had during that time. For that I want to thank head coach Anthony McGrath, Ryan ten Doeschate and Tom Westley, my two captains during that time, and all of the players. I won’t miss strapping on my pads and facing the new ball, but I will miss being in the Eagles’ changing room.

Playing a full part in the season when Essex won the County Championship in 2019 is one of my favourite achievements in the game. I look forward to watching Essex continue to punch above their weight, hopefully winning many more trophies in the coming years.

There are so many people I want to thank, too many to mention. However, none of this would have been possible without Graham Gooch. As a seven-year-old boy, Goochie was my hero. He became my coach, mentor and, above all, a great friend. I dread to think of the number of hours he has given up to help me become the best player I could be.

My parents, Graham and Elizabeth, have been so supportive, from my childhood all the way through my career. My brothers Adrian and Laurence made cricket in the back garden so competitive and that set me on my way.

To Alice’s family Chris, Mary, Lizzy and Henry for the huge amount of time, help and advice you have given to us during the past 10 years and more, not forgetting the opportunity to get involved with the farm. If anyone sees a sheep lorry on the roads around Bedfordshire you may want to stay well clear.

Finally, to Alice, for the love and unwavering support you have shown to me. You have been a wonderful mum to Elsie, Isobel and Jack while I travelled the world chasing my dreams. I will never forget the sacrifice you have made for me and our family. Twenty years of fun and adventure, with many more to come.

Although my England career came to an end in 2018, I remain blown away by the amount of affection I receive from England supporters. Wherever I have travelled, you have been there with your enthusiasm, kind words and unshakable belief. English cricket really does have the best fans in the world.

I will never underestimate the privilege I have had to play cricket. I will always be grateful for what the game has given to me. Now, I hope the Bedfordshire Farmers will find space for a has-been ‘all-rounder’ somewhere in their lower order.

Good luck to the England in the World Cup, I look to forward to supporting the team for many years to come.