29/08/2012 11:53 BST | Updated 29/08/2012 14:47 BST

Andrew Strauss Retires As England Test Captain, Alastair Cook Succeeds Him (PICTURES)

Andrew Strauss has retired from all forms of professional cricket and will be replaced as England's Test captain by his former opening batsman partner Alastair Cook.

The 35-year-old recently returned from a family holiday in Spain in the aftermath of England’s 2-0 Test series defeat by South Africa, and having reflected on his future has now ended a distinguished career, having played 100 Tests for his country.

He hit 21 centuries and averaged 41 during his eight-year Test career, having hit a debut ton against New Zealand in 2004.

Strauss' four-year role as England captain will be remembered as one of English cricket's greatest spells in their history.

andrew strauss

Strauss enjoyed a glittering Test career

In partnership with coach Andy Flower, the duo presided over back-to-back Ashes victories - their 3-1 win in Australia the first there since 1987 - and elevated England to number one in the ICC Test rankings within three years.

Strauss, who joked he didn't want to deliver an "Oscar speech" said his decision was "in the best interests of the England team and myself" and he had "loved every minute" of his eight-year career in the Test fold.

Andrew Strauss' Test Career

He added "the driver" to his decision was his form as a batsman and labelled it as a probable "distraction" ahead of the tour against India, where he has traditionally struggled.

Yet his tenure as skipper has been bookended by controversy surrounding outspoken batsman Kevin Pietersen, who lost the captaincy to Strauss following a fall-out with former coach Peter Moores.

And three weeks ago it transpired Pietersen had sent text messages to South Africa players about Strauss, allegedly advising them to bowl round the wicket to him. He was subsequently dropped from the final Test against the Proteas at Lord's, despite hitting a man of the match 149 in the second Test at Headingley.

Strauss however stressed the Pietersen incident "didn't influence" his decision.

Cook, who at 25 years and 77 days became England's youngest Test captain since Ian Botham in 2010 when he temporarily took over for two Tests against Bangladesh, commented the role had come "sooner than I expected".

Strauss' resignation also completes a remarkable hat-trick for South Africa captain Graeme Smith.

On the three tours he has lead the Proteas in England, Nasser Hussain, Michael Vaughan and Strauss have all resigned as England's Test skipper during or after a series against the South Africans.

Smith's first series against England in 2003 was drawn 2-2 when Vaughan replaced Hussain following the first Test at Edgbaston.

And then five years later South Africa defeated England 2-1 over the course of four Tests, with Vaughan tearfully ending his international career after a Test at Edgbaston too, as the tourists clinched the series.

More to follow...