Alastair Cook played in his first competitive cricket game ever since he retired from international cricket during the fifth and final Test against India at The Oval. In a pre-County clash for Essex against Cambridge Marylebone Cricket Club University in Cambridge, Cook slammed 150 and Essex registered a 286-run victory. His 150* prompted speculations that Cook might be in the fray for the upcoming five-match Ashes series against Australia that will be played after the end of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 and will be the first series in the new Test championship cycle.
Ryan ten Doeschate, who is the captain of Essex, added to the speculation that Cook could be back in England colours for the Ashes, pointing out his love for the game. “Just speaking to him and gauging where he's at, I would say it's unlikely, but I know how much he does love England cricket and how much work he's put in there so no, I wouldn't rule it out in times of desperation and if he was playing really well and he felt the desire was there, I guess there's no reason why he couldn't make a comeback,” ten Doeschate told a talk show.
However, in a report in The Guardian, Cook has brushed aside speculations that he was considering a comeback in the England team. “I’ve played my last game for England. I’ve had 12 amazing years. It’s time for the next generation of top-order players to try to make their mark. Of course there’s always that one thing – an absolute emergency – but I’m nowhere near that mindset,” Cook stated.
Ever since the departure of Cook, England have struggled to find a consistent opening pair. Keaton Jennings and Rory Burns have not been upto the mark. Cook was the one stable factor in the opening side but he struggled to find a reliable partner after Andrew Strauss retired from international cricket following the series against South Africa in 2012.
Cook, who is England's leading run-getter in Tests with 12,472 runs in 161 Tests at an average of 45 bowed out of international cricket in grand style by hammering 71 and 147 in his final Test against India. He ended just like he had started, with a fifty and century during his debut Test in Nagpur in 2006 against the same opponents. In the Ashes, Cook has been part of four Ashes campaign triumphs, including one in Australia in 2010/11. In that series, Cook aggregated a staggering 766 runs at an average of over 100 as England won a series Down Under for the first time in 24 years. Recently, at the start of 2019, Cook was knighted for his services to cricket and thus he was rechristened as Sir Alastair Cook.