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It has been a privilege to know him as a person and a cricketer: Root pays tribute to departing Cook

Writing in his programme notes ahead of play Root said: “It was quite an emotional few minutes on Sunday when Alastair Cook told us all of his decision to retire from international cricket"

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Joe Root has paid tribute to outgoing batsman Alastair Cook

England captain Joe Root has paid tribute to retiring opener Alastair Cook ahead of the fifth and final Test match against India at The Oval, where England’s record run-scorer in Test cricket will play his final international game.

Writing in his programme notes ahead of play Root said: “It was quite an emotional few minutes on Sunday when Alastair Cook told us all of his decision to retire from international cricket.

“You could see how much it has meant to him to have had the opportunity to play for England and represent his country for such a large period of his life. Every one of us is really sad to see him call time on his England career because he’s such a fantastic bloke to play cricket with.”

33-year-old Cook, who will retire as England’s most capped player and with more centuries in Test cricket than any other player to have played for England, was captain when Root was first called up to the England team in 2012 while Root also served as Test vice-captain to Cook before taking over from the Essex opener in 2017.  

Cook announces retirement from international cricket following Oval Test

The pair are also good friends, with Root reflecting on his relationship with the retiring batsman: “It has been a privilege and a pleasure to know him as a person as well as a cricketer. It’s rare that someone who has given so much in terms of performance is also such a fine individual.

“He wants to be part of everyone else’s success, not just his own, and that was evident when I took over the Test captaincy last year. He is the sort of bloke you want around and I am lucky to have played with him as long as I have.

“Cooky has been a brilliant sounding board and someone to try to emulate. He has set the standard in training and given everyone a real example to follow.”

Root and Cook take to the field for the final time as England team-mates on Friday morning as the English international summer comes to a close with the final Test against India at The Oval. England head into the game with an unassailable 3-1 lead over the tourists.

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