Essex win County Championship: Alastair Cook to play 'at least' one more year

Essex celebrate
Essex's only County Championship defeat came in their first game of the season

Alastair Cook says he will play for one more season "at least" after helping Essex to a second County Championship title in three years.

The ex-England captain, 34, retired from international cricket in 2018 and has two years left on his Essex deal.

A draw at nearest rivals Somerset sealed a double, after Essex won the T20 Blast final on Saturday.

"We've got 19-20 year-olds who put music on you've never heard of, and they keep you young," Cook said.

He told BBC Essex: "I've had a few texts this week actually, saying 'if you win the league is that it', but I've promised Tendo (Ryan ten Doeschate) I'll be playing for another year at least."

Cook averaged more than 45 in his first season without England commitments, and was at the crease when Somerset shook hands at Taunton on Thursday to confirm Essex as champions.

His former international team-mate Ravi Bopara, however, said he could not answer whether he would be at Essex next season.

"It's been an amazing season, I'm proud of this bunch of lads," he said. "I love playing with these boys, they're my family.

"It's emotional and I can't say right now (about my future). My lips are sealed and I don't want to get into any trouble and I have to keep quiet for now."

'We're here for long haul'

Essex's triumph comes two years after they were crowned county champions for the first time in a quarter of a century.

Chairman John Faragher believes this season is "just the beginning" for the club, who have moved above Warwickshire as the fifth most successful club in the County Championship's 129-year history.

"We're here for the long haul and we want to taste this excitement again next year," Faragher told BBC Essex.

"It's going to get better, that's the other thing - if you look at the young players that are coming through and waiting to break into the side, we have some real talent."

Essex lost just once in the County Championship this year, while Anthony McGrath's side are the first county to win the Division One and T20 Blast crowns in the same season.

"I think the future looks really strong, very positive and this is just the beginning I'll tell you," said Faragher.

"Rest assured, we're already thinking of what we're going to do next year to make sure we do it again.

"This is team Essex and we're all in this together, and when you are united as we are here, you know what sometimes the impossible becomes possible."

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