Alastair Cook

Former England Alastair Cook opener set to discuss playing future at end of season.

Image Credit: The Independent

Essex have knocked down reports that Alastair Cook will announce his retirement from professional cricket this week, saying they will hold talks with him about his future when his contract with the club expires at the end of the season.

The Daily Mail reported on Thursday morning that Cook will retire at the age of 38, five years after his final international appearance, and that an announcement could come after Essex’s current Championship match against Hampshire at Chelmsford, which is also their final home game.

Alastair Cook signed a two-year contract with Essex before of the 2022 season and has yet to sign a new term, sparking speculation over his potential retirement in recent weeks. According to TheKhelTimes, the team has explored Dean Elgar as a potential foreign transfer for next summer, who would be a like-for-like replacement.

However, the club issued a statement in response to the Mail’s story, stating that no decision had been made: “Essex Cricket would like to clarify that, contrary to news articles published today, Alastair Cook will be discussing his playing future with the club at the end of the current season.”

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Alastair Cook and the rest of the squad, according to the club, were “fully focused on the last two LV= Insurance County Championship matches and being involved in a close-fought race for further honours.”

Essex began this round of games 18 points behind leaders Surrey, but led Hampshire at lunchtime on the third day, as Surrey battled against bottom-placed Northamptonshire.

Alastair Cook has been a constant in Essex’s Championship team since his England retirement, appearing in 62 first-class games in the last five seasons, including this week’s match against Hampshire. In that period, he has averaged 42.67 with 11 hundreds and has been a member of teams that have won the Championship in 2019 and the Bob Willis Trophy in 2020.

He is the eighth-highest run-scorer in Division One this season, with 808 at 36.72, including six half-centuries and a century.