IN the week that England’s finest Test batsman retired, the nation’s most successful one-day international has also called it a day.

Paul Collingwood, the Durham stalwart and England’s most capped ODI player, announced he is to retire at the end of the season.

Cook will stand down from international duty to play county cricket. For Collingwood, seven years after saying farewell to England, his professional cricketing days are coming to an end.

He said: “Everyone has a shelf life and I’ve ran my course.’’

The all-rounder has two games remaining for Durham, at Leicestershire next week and then against Middlesex at Durham Emirates on September 24.

Collingwood will be part of the England coaching team for the winter series in Sri Lanka and the West Indies.

And after then, apart from the possibility of playing club cricket for Shotley Bridge in the Northumberland and Tyneside Senior league next summer? “I’ve no plans after a couple of months with England in Sri Lanka and the West Indies – that’s all there is at the moment,’’ he said at Emirates Riverside yesterday.

“I’ve no right to walk into a job with the ECB or anyone else. At the moment it’s been an agreement to work with them in the winters, but let’s see what comes up.’’

Collingwood, 42, decided this week to end his stellar career. His service to the club has already been recognised with the naming of The Paul Collingwood Pavilion earlier this year and two years ago he had a richly-deserved benefit year.

He made his Durham debut in 1996, racked up 304 first-class appearances, 16,844 runs and 164 wickets. Collingwood played 68 Tests and a 197 one-day internationals, while he captained England to the World T20 trophy in 2010 and was one of Wisden’s five cricketers of the year in 2007.

For all his accolades, experience and honours, Collingwood admits breaking the news on Wednesday to his Durham team-mates after the win over Sussex was one of his hardest moments.

“It was quite an emotional day actually telling the players, a bit of a blubbering wreck,’’ he reflected.

“I quickly realised it’s the right time, I could have kept on going and going until I’m 60. All I ever wanted to do from a young age was play cricket and it’s hard to give up. You want to keep going, but looking at the bigger picture it just feels the right time.

“A couple of nights ago I decided – telling the players yesterday was pretty emotional. I remember doing it with my Test career and I found it harder telling the Durham boys and everyone here about it.

“Cooky going last week was strange timing – I’ve kept an eye on it all and wondered if I should have another year at it, but I just feel it was the right time.

“Speak to any of the players and it was quite embarrassing really, I couldn’t get the words out it was so emotional – that’s what it meant to us, the game, the sport has given me everything.’’

Durham without Collingwood will be like Forest without Clough, Newcastle without Shearer.

But sporting organisations move on and Collingwood is convinced the club is on the up again.

The financial problems have been resolved and Collingwood has been impressed with the progress made by the squad this summer, confident the recruits who have recently arrived will be of some benefit.

“I’ve been privileged to play for my county, privileged to play for my country. Growing up as a youngster to know what lies ahead… I would never have believed it,’’ he mused.

“It would have been easy to walk away a couple of years ago when the club had its problems and it wouldn’t have been the right thing to do. I am confident the club is in the right hands now – the signings are good and we are confident we can get back to where we were and even higher.

“The club still has its identity, its regional support across the North-East and it gives cricketers the opportunity to represent the region. I hope we can fulfil their dreams.

“I retired from England and have been able to play longer for my club. As an international cricketer you understand the intensity levels at county cricket are not the same, but you have to understand you can make a difference too.

“New challenges, I have to say I have enjoyed the last eight years. The club gave me everything to fulfil my dreams and I wanted to give something back to them. We have had some great memories.

“You don’t appreciate things until later – it will take a few years before I realise what I have achieved I think - It’s all a bit surreal at the time, playing sport, playing cricket for a living. Later on in life you realise what you have achieved.’’

Few in the sport are as respected as Collingwood and he admitted earlier this year that one-club cricketers are becoming a rarity.

He has coached Scotland and with so much experience to call on, then he surely won’t be short of coaching offers.

However, a step into the great unknown means he doesn’t know what is next: “In many ways it’s a bit unnerving because I don’t know what I’m going into and what opportunities are out there.

“But at the same time I am very proud of what I have achieved and looking forward to the last two games, when I can relax a bit, enjoy them and know that Durham are in safe hands. It’s great they are in a good position.

“I think there’s a feeling of sadness. I hear lots of ex-players saying you know when it’s time and I probably would never know. I would keep going and going until I couldn’t walk out there.

“But the bigger picture means I feel it’s right now.

“This now gives me an opportunity to play for Shotley Bridge, which I haven’t been able to do for a number of years now.

“I will take some satisfaction playing cricket with my young daughters in the back garden – and they will probably get me out!

“I don’t think it’s a physical or a mental thing for me to come to the decision. We all get injuries and I have had an Achilles problem that’s not why I’m retiring – it’s just time.’’

Shotley Bridge-born, the former Blackfyne Comprehensive student will be at the Emirates Riverside at every opportunity.

His greatest achievement at club level came at his second home and he admitted: “Durham in 2013 and winning the County Championship was the high point. To turn it around from 2012 was a big achievement and to get silverware this club was huge.

“It will be strange not playing here, I will come and watch and sit in my stand with my name on it as long as I get free drinks! I’m always going to be part of this club and will always take an interest and there’s a great set of players in the dressing room.’’