Alastair Cook is set to RETIRE from cricket at the end of the season

EXCLUSIVE: Alastair Cook set to retire from cricket (and it could even be tomorrow!) with ex-England captain and record Test run scorer focusing on his FARM and working behind the mic

  • Former captain Alastair Cook is England’s top Test Match run scorer of all-time 
  • The legendary opening batter also won four Ashes series during his career
  • Cook represented Essex and will go down as one of England’s greatest players  

Sir Alastair Cook is set to call time on one of the most distinguished careers in English cricket history.

The former England captain will almost certainly retire next week at the end of a county season he still hopes will bring another Championship title for Essex.

The official news may come as early as Friday when Essex hope to complete their home season by defeating Hampshire to stay in the hunt for the title behind Surrey.

Cook is determined to bow out quietly and does not want any fuss when he ends a career that saw him become England’s record Test run-scorer, twice win the Ashes as captain and serve his county with distinction.

But Essex would like to mark the occasion after Cook’s last home appearance and plan a low-key drinks reception in honour of Cook and Dan Lawrence, who is leaving at the end of the season for Surrey, at Chelmsford after they complete their game against Hampshire.

Former England captain Alastair Cook is set to retire from cricket at the end of the season

Cook is England’s top Test match run scorer of all-time, with the opener scoring 12,472 runs 

Cook will return to his family farm which means so much to him (pictured – Cook with wife Alice Hunt on the farm in January 2011 – the pair have two daughters and a son together)

It would certainly be an occasion worth marking. Cook, 38, made 12,472 runs in his 161 Tests as he became one of the best and most significant batsmen in England’s history.

He was also a captain good enough to lead England to the Ashes in 2013 and 2015 and was a key batting figure in the incredible victory in Australia in 2010-11 when they won 3-1 under Andrew Strauss with three wins by an innings.

Cook’s England career came to a fairy-tale end when he made a century in his last Test against India five years ago when the whole of the Oval rose to one of the most popular and principled figures in the game.

Since then he has been determined to give as much as possible back to his beloved Essex and has had five seasons uninterrupted by international commitments when he has been a heavy county run-scorer and considerable influence in the dressing room.

Cook was again a key figure in both Essex’s Championship victory in 2019, winning the title in dramatic fashion against nearest rivals Somerset in the last match at Taunton, and the Bob Willis Trophy triumph in the following Covid-hit year.

He is still as fit as ever and could still do a decent job for Essex into his 40s, as his mentor Graham Gooch did after the end of his own outstanding England career.

But Mail Sport understands he feels he has done as much as he possibly could at all levels of the game and the time is right for him to leave the way clear for younger players.

The 38-year-old also won four Ashes series with England during a hugely decorated career 

After retiring from Test cricket in 2018, Cook (left) has continued to represent his county Essex

Cook (right) has also been building his career as a pundit and is likely to do more media work

Cook will now return to the family farm that means so much to him and put more time into his new career in the media which has seen him become an increasingly confident pundit with the BBC and what is now TNT Sport.

The return to the family farm will also see him spend more time with his wife Alice Hunt. They got married in 2011 having known each other since childhood and have two daughters and one son together. 

If, as expected, a man who began life as a St Paul’s Cathedral choirboy calls time after Essex’s final match against Northants at Wantage Road next week he can look back on one of the greatest of all careers and a leading role in one of the greatest England Test teams.

The perfect ending would be for Essex to pip Surrey for the title with Cook, who made a duck in the first innings of the current match against Hampshire, scoring runs against Northants.

But even if that does not happen – and Surrey are still firm favourites – Cook can reflect with immense pride on all he has achieved

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