Cook had retirement in mind for six months

Former England captain Alastair Cook revealed that he had been contemplating retirement for the past six months.

"I was a couple of beers in, which I needed to be, otherwise I would have cried more than I actually did. I managed to hold it together," Cook said about informing England team about his decision.   -  Getty Images

An emotional Alastair Cook revealed on Wednesday that he cried when he broke the news of his retirement to his team-mates after the fourth Test at the Ageas Bowl.

"I was a couple of beers in which I needed to be otherwise I would have cried more than I actually did," he said at the Oval. "I managed to hold it together. I just said, ‘This might be good news for some and sad for others but it’s time. I’ve done my bit and if picked the next game will be my last one.’

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"There was a bit of silence, Mo (Moeen Ali) said something, we all laughed and everyone got on with it. We had a nice evening in the changing room."

Cook stated that he had been thinking about retirement for the last six months. He added: "I’ve always had that mental edge, 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."

Cook picked the 2010 Ashes and the 2012 tour of India as career highlights. "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," he said.

"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."

Kevin Pietersen's acrimonious exit from the side after the 2013 Ashes was a low-point, Cook felt. "Clearly the KP affair was a tough year, there’s no doubt about that. The fall-out of that wasn’t great for English cricket and wasn’t great for me. I was involved in that decision without being the bloke who actually made the final decision," he said.

Cook joked that Ishant Sharma, who has now dismissed him 11 times in Tests, was the toughest bowler he had faced. "I think I must regret getting Ishant Sharma out as my wicket (Trent Bridge 2014, Cook's only Test wicket), because he's kind of got his revenge since, getting me out constantly over the last couple of series," he laughed.

"The ball going away from me from around the wicket I found the hardest to conquer. In general, a bowler who maybe is not the quickest but constantly hits line and lengths I found the hardest."