Sir Alastair Cook says Essex’s County Championship title success encapsulates why he decided to keep playing professional cricket after retiring from England duty.

Cook top-scored for the county in four-day cricket with 913 runs at 45.65 apiece, his experience shining through as he struck 53 and 30 not out on the final day of the season to steer Essex to a draw in their title-decider against Somerset at Taunton.

The result earned Essex a rare silverware double after their victory at last Saturday’s Vitality Blast Finals Day and Cook, who retired from international cricket in 2018, says he plans to play on after celebrating the county’s second Championship title in three years.

“This is the reason I carried on,” said Cook, who signed a new three-year deal with Essex in 2018.

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Watch the moments that Essex won the County Championship and lifted the trophy, plus their tribute to the retiring Marcus Trescothick

Watch the moments that Essex won the County Championship and lifted the trophy, plus their tribute to the retiring Marcus Trescothick

“The guys wanted me to play, I wanted to play and I wanted to win trophies. I really enjoy county cricket, it’s a bunch of lads I play with every day.

“You hope you can add a bit to the environment and score a few runs, and to win a trophy at the end of it is really special.

“I’m really happy for our coach Anthony McGrath, who took over from Chris Silverwood. That’s a tough job when you have won a league [under Silverwood] for the first time in 25 years.

“But he’s moved it forward in his own way and it’s been a real special year for the club.”

Skipper Ryan ten Doeschate praised the desire shown by his Essex players throughout the season.

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Essex Eagles celebrate after bring crowned Vitality Blast Champions following their victory over Worcestershire Rapids

Essex Eagles celebrate after bring crowned Vitality Blast Champions following their victory over Worcestershire Rapids

He said: “We’ve improved so much and we’ve done it over two formats. But our white-ball stuff was a bit scrappy and we sneaked through. What has really impressed me is the desire of the guys to keep going.