Alastair Cook: England opener 'cried' as he told team-mates of retirement

Cricket has changed for the better - Cook
England v India, fifth Specsavers Test
Venue: Kia Oval Date: 7-11 September Time: 11:00 BST
Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW, online, tablets, mobiles and BBC Sport app. Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website. Full tour details

Alastair Cook says he cried as he told England team-mates he was to retire from international cricket, a decision he had been considering for six months.

The opener, 33, will step down from England duty after the final Test against India, which starts on Friday.

Cook, who averages 18.62 in 2018, said he had lost his "mental edge".

"I was a couple of beers in, otherwise I would have cried more than I actually did," said Cook, who told the team after the fourth-Test win on Sunday.

"At the end of the game I said, 'It might be good news, it might be sad for some, it might be happy for others, but it's time and I have done my bit. I will play one more game'.

"There was a little bit of silence, then Mo [Ali] said something, everybody laughed and it was forgotten about."

Cook told captain Joe Root before the fourth Test at Southampton - which England won to take an unassailable 3-1 lead in the series - and informed head coach Trevor Bayliss during the game.

"Over the last six months there have been signs in my mind this was going to happen," said Cook, who is England's highest Test run-scorer.

"I had always been mentally tough and had that edge to everything I've done - and that edge had kind of gone."

'I was not the most talented cricketer'

Cook has scored 12,254 runs and made 32 centuries in 160 Tests - all England records.

He said the highlights of his 12-year career were being named man of the series in Australia in 2010-11 and India in 2012.

Cook scored 766 runs in England's Ashes triumph in Australia in 2010-11, and made three successive centuries to help England win in India for the first time in 27 years.

"I can look back and say I became the best player I could have become and that means a lot to me," said Cook, who is sixth on the all-time list of Test run-scorers.

"I was never the most talented cricketer, but I definitely got everything out of my ability."

Alastair Cook
Alastair Cook made a century on his Test debut in 2006

Pietersen, pressure & Jagger's incentive

Cook said the fallout from Kevin Pietersen's sacking in 2014 after the 5-0 Ashes defeat was among the lowest periods of his England career.

Pietersen later made allegations of a bullying culture in the England squad.

In 2015, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) director of cricket Andrew Strauss said Pietersen would not be considered for selection.

"The KP affair was a tough year," said Cook, who was captain at the time.

"I was involved in a decision without being the bloke who made the final decision. It could have been handled differently.

"The moment when Strauss came on board and said he made the decision was the best thing that happened. There is regret over it - it wasn't great for English cricket."

Cook struggled for form during 2014 and survived calls for him to be replaced as captain before leading England to a home Ashes win the following summer.

"When it was tough I didn't throw the towel in," Cook said. "I was the best man for the job."

Mick Jagger, Rolling Stones singer and cricket fan, has offered £20,000 to charity Chance to Shine if and player scores a century or takes five wickets in the fifth Test at The Oval.

"No pressure on either Joe Root's guys or Virat Kohli's - though the bigger they go at The Oval the better," he said.


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