London : England opener Alastair Cook says he decided to call it quits since he had lost the mental edge with which he managed all his tasks with ease.
The fifth and final Test begins at the Oval on Friday, and with the hosts already 3-1 up, it will be the last international match of Cook’s 12-year-long career. “I’ve always had that mental edge, I have always been mentally incredibly tough and had that edge to everything I have done but that edge had kind of gone.
“The thing I had found easy before was not quite there and to me that was the biggest thing,” Cook said.
He said he would have kept the decision to himself if the series had not been decided in Southampton. “It’s been a bit surreal. One of my friends rang me to check I was still alive because everyone was talking as if I’d died.
“It is nice when you hear so many nice words said about you. For example, someone stopped me when I was driving in and made me wind down the window and said ‘thank you very much.’ That was a nice moment. Hopefully this week I can score some runs and then go,” Cook said.
Asked about the decision to call time on his long career, Cook replied,
“It’s hard to put into words but there have been signs in my mind over the last six months.
“I told Joe Root before the game (in Southampton) and then Trevor Bayliss during the game. In this day and age it’s very difficult to keep anything quiet. If it were 2-2 I’d have kept my mouth shut.
“At Southampton, 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. At the end of the game I just said ‘this might be good news for some and sad for others but it’s time.