• Cook to end England career

    England batsman Alastair Cook will retire from international cricket after this month’s fifth Test against India.

    Cook has the sixth-most runs in the history of Test cricket – 12,254 in 289 innings. He has, however, averaged a mere 18.62 in nine matches this year.

    The ongoing five-match series against the Indians has yielded low scores of 13, zero, 21, 29, 17, 17 and 12 for the veteran left-hander.

    Fellow batsman Joe Root succeeded Cook as Test captain last year.

    ‘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,’ Cook said in a statement.

    ‘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.

    ‘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.

    ‘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.’

    The 33-year-old Cook also played 92 ODIs and four T20Is, but hasn’t featured in either of England’s limited-overs teams since 2014.

    The fifth Test will get under way at The Oval in London on Friday. The hosts boast an unassailable 3-1 series lead, after wins at Lord’s, Edgbaston and Southampton – and defeat at Trent Bridge.

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    Jonhenry Wilson