LONDON (Reuters) – England batsman Alastair Cook cried when he broke the news of his retirement to his team mates but said on Wednesday that burn-out was not behind his decision to bring the curtain down on his international career after more than a decade.
The 33-year old opener announced on Monday that he was retiring from England duty after this week’s fifth test against India, saying there was “nothing left in the tank.”
Cook said he informed his team mates about his retirement plans after their 60-run victory over India in the fourth test at Southampton but had told captain Joe Root before the match.
“I was a couple of beers in and I needed to be, otherwise I’d have cried more than I actually did,” he told reporters on Wednesday ahead of the final test at The Oval.
“There was a little bit of silence, then Mo (Moeen Ali) said something, everybody laughed and it was forgotten about.”
Cook has endured a poor run of form with the bat in nine tests this year in which he has averaged 18.62 runs compared with a career average of 44.88.
Asked if he had considered requesting a sabbatical to reassess his game, Cook said: “It did cross my mind briefly, as the decision became clear in my mind.
“But if you are looking over the last two or three years, I haven’t played a huge amounts of games, and I’ve never felt that getting on another plane has been the struggle.
“It’s hard to put it into words, but over the last six months there have been signs in my mind that this (retirement) was going to happen.”
Friday’s test against India will mark the end of Cook’s 12-year international career, during which he has become the nation’s highest run-scorer in tests with 12,254 in 160 outings.
England are 3-1 ahead and have wrapped up the series but Cook is determined to play well and enjoy one last test victory.
“It would be fantastic (to bow out on a high), but it would be great for England to win most importantly — 4-1 sounds better than 3-2. If I can play a good innings, that would be fantastic,” he added.
“I can look back and say I became the best player I could have become and that means a lot to me.”
(Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)