Alastair Cook and Graham Gooch
Alastair Cook often turned to mentor Graham Gooch to overcome slump in form (Getty Images)

England batting legend Graham Gooch has paid glowing tributes to the retiring Alastair Cook calling him a perfect role model for the way he built in international career. Cook, on Monday, in a statement, announced that the Oval Test against India will be his last in England whites. He will retire as England’s most capped and prolific run-scorer in the format.

In the statement, Cook called Gooch as a sounding board and felt fortunate to have been mentored by a man whose record as England’s all-time leading run scorer in Tests he went on to surpass.

On his part, Gooch, who scored 8900 runs in 118 Tests, described Cook as a genuine legend of English cricket.

“Alastair has been the rock of England’s batting for the last 12 years since he made his debut and while we are all sad to see him retire, we must rejoice in what he has done for our country,” Gooch said in a statement on Monday. “He is a genuine legend of English cricket.”

Cook will retire as the sixth highest leading run-getter in Tests with 12254 runs, 32 centuries so far. However, he will continue to represent his county Essex next season. The Test at The Oval will be is 161st – the most for an England cricketer.

“He is a legend not only because of his performances, but, because of his attitude, his sacrifices, the way he has carried himself and the example he has set. Alastair is a perfect role model and is the image of the game we want to project,” Gooch said.

“He is a great ambassador for his sport, he is a great person as well as a great cricketer. His record is unsurpassed in terms of runs and the commitment he has showed for every team he has played for and has been a beacon for our sport as a person and as a cricketer.

“He has been his own man all the way through. He has his own views and he knows what he wants to achieve and what he wants to get and he has pursued that all the way through his career. It was evident from the very first time I met him when he came to Essex that he was a smart lad and he knew how he could play, he knew how he could manage his game, even at a young age.”

Cook made his Test debut against India in 2006, hitting a century in Nagpur in the second innings. He went on to surpass Graham Gooch as the leading run-scorer for England in Test cricket in 2015.

“Throughout his career he has developed his game to improve and the results are there for all to see. To achieve what he has in playing 160 Test matches, scoring over 12,000 runs and 32 centuries is an incredibly special achievement from a special person,” Gooch said.

“It all stems from being strong of mind, being committed to hard work on his game and focusing on what’s in front of him. He has accepted every challenge and has achieved everything he wanted to achieve so we have to be sad that he will no longer be representing our country but we must rejoice in the fact he has been a rock for us for 12 years.”

“To be a successful sportsman it is not just about the skills or talent, it is about hard work, commitment and desire. All of those parts complete the make-up of you as a person and helps you be successful and he has been determined, he has been stubborn sometimes but he is always somebody you can depend on and always the first name on the team sheet.”

“For Essex it is a dream come true. I understand he wants to play for Essex next year and knowing Alastair like I do, he will give the same commitment as he did for England.

“He has decided he has run his race at international level and I can understand that as he has done it for 12 years.

“We are all sad he will no longer be wearing the three lions but he is going to move on so we must look back and rejoice in what he has done for our country.”