Alastair Cook, England’s cricketing legend and former Test captain, has hung up his boots, bidding farewell to the professional cricketing world. The retirement announcement comes after much speculation during the final rounds of the LVInsurance County Championship, with Cook eventually confirming his decision.

In a heartfelt statement shared on the Essex website, Cook expressed the emotions surrounding his departure. He recounted his journey, which began as an eight-year-old for Wickham Bishops Under 11s and culminated in a stellar career spanning over two decades. Cook reminisced about the friendships forged, the places visited, and the unimaginable achievements of his cricketing life.

“Today I am announcing my retirement and the end of my career as a professional cricketer,” Cook said in a statement on the Essex website.

“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, create 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. Above all, I am incredibly happy.

The 38-year-old left the international stage in 2018 but continued to contribute to the Essex county team. His contributions were not in vain, as he played a pivotal role in Essex’s triumph in the Division One title in 2019 and the Bob Willis Trophy the following year.

“I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Essex, the county I joined when I was aged 12,” Cook added. “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.

Throughout his illustrious career, Cook scored over 26,000 first-class runs, 11,337 of which came for Essex. He was no slouch in limited-overs cricket either, amassing another 7,500 runs. Cook also dabbled in media work during his playing days, notably contributing as a Test Match Special summariser for the BBC.

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