After deciding to quit the game, the opening batter’s contract with Essex, the county he initially represented in 2003, ended after the season. He has now declared he would not be extending it.
Cook decided to continue playing for Essex after his Test cricket retirement in 2018, leading his team in scoring as they won the County Championship the following year.
Essex finished second behind winners Surrey this season, and the 38-year-old’s decision to retire was officially made after the season ended. He leaves the game with 26,643 first-class runs and 74 centuries.
In a statement, Cook said: “It is difficult to say goodbye. Cricket has been so much more to me than just a career for more than 20 years. It has allowed me to see places I never imagined visiting, to be a part of teams that have accomplished feats I would never have believed possible, and, most significantly, to form lifelong friendships. From the eight-year-old youngster who started playing for Wickham Bishops Under 11s to the present, I come to an odd conclusion filled with pride and melancholy. But most of all, I am extremely joyful.
Cook, who led his nation for 59 of the 161 Test matches he played over 12 years, has the most Test runs and centuries of any England batsman.
In the 2010–11 series, which remains the first time England has won the Ashes in Australia since 1986–87, he hit an incredible 766 runs while leading the side to two triumphs, both at home.
Cook’s international career ended happily five years ago when, in front of his loved ones, he scored his 33rd Test century against India at the Oval.
Cook stated, “Even though my time playing for England came to an end in 2018, I’m always in awe of the love England fans show me.
“You have always been there with your excitement, good words, and unwavering belief everywhere I have gone. The finest cricket fans in the world are really from England. I’ll never take for granted the opportunity I’ve had to play cricket. I’ll always be appreciative of what the game has done for me. Now, I’m hoping the Bedfordshire Farmers will find room in their bottom order for a failed “all-rounder.”