SIR Alastair Cook has yet to announce whether he will extend his county cricket career into next year after Essex missed out on this season’s LV= Insurance County Championship title.

The 38-year-old former England captain was out for two single-figure scores this week as Essex crashed to an innings-and-39-run defeat at Northamptonshire, meaning Surrey retained their Division One crown.

Cook brought the curtain down on his record-breaking England career in style with a century five years ago but his final innings of this season ended with him nicking off for just six at Wantage Road.

He was given a standing ovation on the Essex balcony as he trudged off in front of a sparse crowd, perhaps an indicator of his decision as his contract with the county is up at the end of the campaign.

Cook, who made his first-class debut in 2003 and has amassed more than 26,000 runs with 74 centuries, could yet stay on, which would be music to the ears of Essex head coach Anthony McGrath.

“He’s been very tight-lipped, because he’s wanted it that way and particularly because we were going for the title,” McGrath said.

“He hasn’t officially made his mind up, as far as I’m aware but if it is his last game, we’re going to miss him. In case it is, everyone was just giving him a clap.

“He wants to do it his own way, he did that with England and, with the amount of cricket he’s played and what he’s given to the game, he deserves that respect and I don’t think we should push him into it.

“I can’t speak highly enough of him. Hopefully we’ll see him for a bit longer but if not then the service he’s given to cricket, not just Essex, has been phenomenal.”