Alastair Cook has insisted there will be no second thoughts or dramatic recalls following his decision to retire.
Cook may be just 33 years old and committed to continuing his career with Essex, where he today confirmed a three-year contract extension, but he maintains that, whatever happens in the future, he will not be persuaded back to Test cricket.
Asked how he would reply if, during next summer’s Ashes, England desperately required an opener and he had been scoring heavily in the County Championship for Essex, Cook was adamant he would stick to his decision.
“No, I’m retiring and that’s it,” he said. “It is final. I have done my bit.”
Cook had previously admitted that it did “briefly” cross his mind to ask for a winter off in an effort to rediscover “that edge” he felt his game had lost. But, having reflected on the idea, he concluded that it “has gone” for good, even though he accepted there may be a period of “mourning” for his lost career in the coming months.
“If I had six months off and then came back, I don’t think that edge would be there,” he said. “It has kind of gone. When you know [it’s time to retire, you know].
“There is going to be a transition, a period, of course there is. There are going to be times when you get that mourning and stuff like that, and that transition has to take place and you accept it, whether that is today or in two years.
“I think having the opportunity to play for Essex over the next couple of years will help that a lot. I’ll always have that luxury of knowing the [family] farm is there, too, and that takes the pressure off me.”
While he admitted there were aspects of the game he would miss, he described himself as “content in what I had achieved”.
“I’m going to miss the buzz,” he said. “When there’s a tight game; like when Edgbaston’s rocking. I’ll sit there with jealousy watching other people play for England.
“But I’m very content with what I’ve achieved. When you look at where I’ll end up in terms of runs scored, it would be very arrogant to say I’d expected to get up there. It’s gone better than I could ever have imagined. That’s why I can safely say I’m retiring sad in one way, but also so content in what I have achieved. It makes it a lot easier.”
The imminent arrival of Cook’s third child, due at the start of next week, could cause him a potential clash of priorities as he gets himself geared up for his 161st and final appearance. Cook, however, joked that his wife Alice was braced to it alone if she goes into labour at 9am on Friday morning.
“She might have to do it by herself I think,” Cook said with a smile. “We have spoken about it. If it comes then, I’ll meet it later on.
“Ideally it will come after the match or, even better, after I’ve scored a hundred. And then it would come when India are about to bat and I won’t have to field. That would be ideal. Then I could come back and have another bat in the second innings. But I doubt that will happen.”