India vs England: Had lost mental edge, says retiring England opener Alastair Cook
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India vs England: Had lost mental edge, says retiring England opener Alastair Cook

Alastair Cook Cook, spoke about getting emotional as he broke the news to his teammates after the series-clinching win over India at Southampton on Sunday and the adulation he has got since then.

cricket Updated: Sep 05, 2018 21:02 IST
N Ananthanarayanan
N Ananthanarayanan
Hindustan Times, London
Alastair Cook,India vs England,India Cricket team
Alastair Cook will be playing his 161st and final Test at the Oval. (REUTERS)

Losing the mental toughness he attributed to his longevity made him decide it was time to quit international cricket, England’s record run-getter Alastair Cook said on Wednesday.

“I’ve always been mentally incredibly tough and had that edge to everything I’ve done, but that edge had kind of gone. The thing I’d found easy before wasn’t quite there and to me that was the biggest thing,” the former England skipper told a media interaction at the Oval ahead of his farewell Test against India.

EMOTIONAL TIME

Cook, 33, spoke about getting emotional as he broke the news to his teammates after the series-clinching win over India at Southampton on Sunday and the adulation he has got since then, having faced questions as he struggled for consistency in the last two years.

“It’s been a bit surreal,” he said. “One of my friends rang me to check I was still alive because everyone was talking as if I’d died. It’s nice when you hear so many nice words said about you.”

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Cook, who will play an England record 161st Test – it will push his all-time record in a row to 159 – hoped he can score runs in his final game. He picked the 2010-11 Ashes series win in Australia (766 runs at 127.66) and the 2012-13 win in India as captain, scoring three centuries.

“You can’t really look past those two away series where I was Man-of-the-Series and we won in Australia and India. That was the best I could play and probably in my career as a whole I can look back and say I probably became the best player I could become.

“That actually means quite a lot to me. Yes, I’ve never been the most talented cricketer and I can’t pretend I was, but I definitely think I got everything out of my ability.”

ISHANT’S REVENGE

And the toughest bowler faced? Cook joked Ishant Sharma, who has got him 11 times and won their duel in this series, was avenging his dismissing him -- as his only Test wicket -- in the 2014 Trent Bridge game.

“I must regret getting Ishant out as my wicket, because he’s kind of got his revenge since, getting me out constantly over the last couple of series. The ball going away from me from around the wicket, I found the hardest to conquer.

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“But in general, a bowler how maybe is not the quickest but constantly hits line and lengths -- I never had the power or the shots to knock bowlers off these lengths. So a bowler who hangs it there and doesn’t give me the pace to work with, that I found the hardest.”

KP LOW

The controversy leading to Kevin Pietersen’s sacking after the disastrous Ashes tour of 2013-14 was the worst phase of his career.

“Of course, there are decisions in hindsight that you question. Clearly the KP affair was a tough year, no doubt about that. The fallout wasn’t great for English cricket, wasn’t great for me. I was involved in that decision without being the bloke who actually made the final decision. The fallout of that decision and the effect it had for 12 months was…..”

First Published: Sep 05, 2018 20:20 IST