England legend Sir Alastair Cook could be approaching the end of his time at Essex due to a season-long internal battle that is showing no signs of slowing down.
It has been a difficult campaign for the Chelmsford-based side, as they came into the year with a claim to being the best red-ball team in the country but suffered a poor start.
It is frustrating for a team that have found success recently, including the Championship and Twenty20 Blast double a couple of years ago as well as the Bob Willis Trophy last season.
Cook’s performance against Surrey at the Oval this week was sublime as his 165 showed he could still do a job for England at Test level following their recent struggles to replace the former captain.
However, the 36-year-old may have played his last game for Essex as an internal battle between new chief executive John Stephenson, coach Anthony McGrath, former captain Ronnie Irani, and a group of players including the ex-England star.
After Essex’s media day at Chelmsford earlier this year, it appeared Cook would certainly play for the county in 2022 but these recent developments have cast doubt over his commitment.
In August, website Cricbuzz revealed Irani had been forced to resign from his role as chairman of the Essex cricket committee due to complaints form the likes of Simon Harmer, Dan Lawrence, and Cook.
The players raised concerns regarding Irani’s constant interference particularly after he, at the request of Stephenson, demanded an investigation into the supposed drinking culture at the club.
Irani’s continued presence on the committee and rumours that he will stand for chairman next year has seen the feud continue – and more talks surrounding his future at the club are planned as Essex desperately look to retain Cook.
It is worrying for Cook and domestic cricket fans that despite being one of the best batsmen at that level, he may still walk away from the game.
It would be a disappointing way for his illustrious career to end, particularly as Essex have struggled so dearly this season.
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