England v India, 5th Investec Test, The Oval, 3rd day August 18, 2014

My wife made me not quit - Cook

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English cricket needed a series win - Cook

Alastair Cook admitted it was only the support of his wife, Alice, which persuaded him not to resign the England captaincy.

Cook was close to quitting after the fourth day of the second Investec Test against Sri Lanka at Headingley when it became apparent that England were going to slip to a sixth loss in seven Tests and a second successive series defeat.

But Mrs Cook persuaded him to continue and, exactly a month after going one down in the series against India, Cook led England to their first series victory in a year after a crushing defeat of India at The Oval.

"Without my wife, I don't think I'd be standing here as captain," Cook said. "The support I had from my wife persuaded me to continue. You can bare your soul quite often to Alice, and she's very good at getting me back on the straight and narrow.

"But that fourth night was a tough moment. We had let a winning position slip. And Lord's was very tough as well, losing there in conditions very suited to us and winning the toss for a big advantage.

"But I'm quite stubborn; I believe in my ability, and I'm quite a resilient guy. And that was when I needed it most. I'm glad I stuck through the tough times. That's what sport does - tests your character - and to bounce back as a team is a testament to us. I'm here because I believe that I am the right man to try to lead this team forward. I'm very, very privileged to be England captain. It's a great job to have. Even through the tough times.

"You walk out every morning, and you have the name - 'here comes the England captain'. When that's your name, you do it for such a short period of time in your life, you have to hold on to it as long as you can and give it everything."

Cook declined the opportunity to hit back at his critics - the likes of Michael Vaughan and Shane Warne - who had suggested he should quit and instead admitted that his own batting form remained a concern.

"I don't play this game to prove people right or wrong," he said. "I never have. I do it to try to win games of cricket for England, and do my best at all times. So I'm not going to be gloating; that's not who I am. I still think I'm a fair way off my best with my batting. Until I score that hundred, everyone will always talk about it.

"But it's a bit like my character - I can find a way to score runs, and I've got to continue the extra work on it. It's a bit like this team - if I score one, I'll score a few. It's certainly been a long time, and kind of plays on your mind a bit."

Cook also insisted that he always felt his side would win the series, even after they went one down after defeat at Lord's.

"I remember saying, when we were 1-0 down, that I still thought we were going to win the series," Cook said. "I had a lot of confidence in the talent and amount of skill we had in the dressing-room.

"I didn't think we'd win quite this emphatically. But Southampton was clearly a turning point for us, to finally get the win. Suddenly after the first day there, there was a bit of confidence back in us as a side. Once we won there, and enjoyed that night, that was the route of how we wanted to play our cricket against these guys.

"Credit to the five bowlers for the way they've bowled - because with sustained periods of pressure, we haven't let them get away from us. That's very hard to bat against.

"I still think winning away in India was an amazing achievement. So I'm going to rank that one higher, in my eyes. But that still shouldn't take away from the way we've played these last three games. English cricket needed a series win, and to deliver it like we have we have a big smile on our face."

Cook admitted the overwhelming nature of the way England reversed their form was beyond his wildest expectations.

"It is an amazing turnaround, after Lord's to have won like we have in the last three games, the guys can take a huge amount of credit and the new coaching staff.

"It's great to have the support of the guys in the tough times and then the good times like now make it all worthwhile," he said. "That's what sport can do to you. You can have your tough times and it's the character you need to bounce back. We have to enjoy tonight and then look at the reasons why we went from playing how we were to playing good cricket."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • peter56 on August 20, 2014, 12:57 GMT

    @YorkshirePudding;The reason most test runs is not a hollow record for SRT is that he has had the longest career of any test batsman in history. 24 years and played every one of those years no other test batsman has ever been as durable. So its only fitting that the title of most runs should go to the batsman that lasted longer than anybody else. So if Chef passes this record in less than 16 years with his much inferior average.I defy anyone to tell me its not a hollow achievement. A similar thing happened when Wally Hammond retired he was trumpeted as the batsman with the most runs in test history. The aggregate was thus elevated to one of the great test match records. Even as late as 1935 the great English cricket writer, Robertson-Glasgow was writing that Hammond was greater than Bradman. I mean he had a higher test aggregate after all ! during the thirties Hammond played 60 tests Bradman 33 and Headley 19. how could he not? so by your reckoning Hammond's was not a hollow record

  • Clive_Dunn on August 19, 2014, 18:50 GMT

    The Aussies are going to love this admission - "Cookie, what does your wife say about either having a third man or a 2nd gully ?"

  • asiacricket1234 on August 18, 2014, 22:07 GMT

    Congrats to England for winning this series but I am not sure if beating India in England should be count as a big success. India is clueless out of India so beating them not really a big deal and it should have been 5-0 not 3-1. So I would say England did not do as well as they should have. I think they will suffer against teams like Aus, SA or SL, In fact they lost against SL recently so I think they should try to improve more so they can beat the other top teams. Good Luck to them

  • Chris_P on August 18, 2014, 21:00 GMT

    @Madan Shivakumar . Mark your words? You mean the same ones that said how India were going to smash England, how their batsmen were going to smash England's bowlers over the park? Cook has scored a stack of test runs, my friend making him, on most logical thinking people's minds, qualified to offer thoughts about the great game. And your achievement to do so are????

  • YorkshirePudding on August 18, 2014, 20:55 GMT

    @peter56, actually hammoned averaged 58 per innings not per test, and I based my numbers on a commesurate number of innings. Yes there will be deviations, as the player ages by the law of large numbers indicates that after a certain point the average fluctuates only by a smal margin of 4-5 runs per innings.

    You inital post stated quite clearly that it would be a hollow record, and so I added some context around a few of the previous greats, of the game, which shows that over time the number of innings played over a career, is increasing, so to say the record for most runs is hollow, must also be true of SRT's record by your logic. Thus the only true measure of greatness is to compare on an innings by innings basis, to see where players are at any given point in time.

    At 140 innings Hammond had 7249 runs, SRT by comparrison had 7200 that makes them about on par, in terms of runs so if hammond played the same number of innings he may well have ended up with more runs.

  • Valavan on August 18, 2014, 19:53 GMT

    @Madan sivakumar, where are you buying grapes. Are they very sour. save some kilos for ODI series as well. We have already marked your words during series start. Your batters were greater than any batter from SA, Aus or SL, but england just showed who are your batters, Pujara, kohli, Dhawan, dhoni, jadeja..

  • eggyroe on August 18, 2014, 17:31 GMT

    @ peter56 ,Joe Root,as a strong possibility especially if he plays against the present Indian bowling attack.

  • eggyroe on August 18, 2014, 17:20 GMT

    What has all this talk about other players,got to do with the gist of this article that Alistair Cook's good lady talked him out of giving up the captaincy of England,in my opinion absolutely nothing.When he finally retires he can look back on a good Test Match record that many people would give their eye teeth for.In my opinion he would not get into my lifetime all time cricket X1,but then the most modern players would be Shane Warne & Adam Gilchrist. Tendulkar has over the last 20 years scored the most Test Match Runs,but to get into my lifetime eleven he would in my opinion have to be better than Viv Richards,The Don and Gary Sobers,and I do not think he is by any stretch of the imagination any better.

  • peter56 on August 18, 2014, 16:29 GMT

    Yorkshire pudding I am not Indian I am not a particular fan of SRT either but I am dealing in facts not your Hammond /Hobbs/bradmans what ifs. the fact is SRT is the leading run scorer in test history, in my opinion the only batsman who can overhaul Him is Alastair Cook (.please name me the other candidate),and the only reason he is possible to do this is that he gets to play way more tests than any batsman from any other country,so if and when he passes SRT. Maybe you will then analyse their respective records and tell me that cook's average of 13 tests per year does not make it a hollow achievement to overtake someone who only got to average 8 per year. As for your extrapolation its not that simple to just say Hammond averaged 85 runs per test and then multiply it by 200 the answer is 17,000 . You have to presume that Hammond and HObbs both started their test careers as 16 year olds instead of a mature 24 and 25 long before they were good enough. 8 years of struggle.

  • YorkshirePudding on August 18, 2014, 15:52 GMT

    @ electric_loco_WAP4, Warner no way, hes 27and nly has 2700 test run AB is also a year older than Cook and SA don't play as many tests as England. Root is a good call though, however lets temper that with the realisation that anything can happen over the next 10-15 years of roots career.

  • peter56 on August 20, 2014, 12:57 GMT

    @YorkshirePudding;The reason most test runs is not a hollow record for SRT is that he has had the longest career of any test batsman in history. 24 years and played every one of those years no other test batsman has ever been as durable. So its only fitting that the title of most runs should go to the batsman that lasted longer than anybody else. So if Chef passes this record in less than 16 years with his much inferior average.I defy anyone to tell me its not a hollow achievement. A similar thing happened when Wally Hammond retired he was trumpeted as the batsman with the most runs in test history. The aggregate was thus elevated to one of the great test match records. Even as late as 1935 the great English cricket writer, Robertson-Glasgow was writing that Hammond was greater than Bradman. I mean he had a higher test aggregate after all ! during the thirties Hammond played 60 tests Bradman 33 and Headley 19. how could he not? so by your reckoning Hammond's was not a hollow record

  • Clive_Dunn on August 19, 2014, 18:50 GMT

    The Aussies are going to love this admission - "Cookie, what does your wife say about either having a third man or a 2nd gully ?"

  • asiacricket1234 on August 18, 2014, 22:07 GMT

    Congrats to England for winning this series but I am not sure if beating India in England should be count as a big success. India is clueless out of India so beating them not really a big deal and it should have been 5-0 not 3-1. So I would say England did not do as well as they should have. I think they will suffer against teams like Aus, SA or SL, In fact they lost against SL recently so I think they should try to improve more so they can beat the other top teams. Good Luck to them

  • Chris_P on August 18, 2014, 21:00 GMT

    @Madan Shivakumar . Mark your words? You mean the same ones that said how India were going to smash England, how their batsmen were going to smash England's bowlers over the park? Cook has scored a stack of test runs, my friend making him, on most logical thinking people's minds, qualified to offer thoughts about the great game. And your achievement to do so are????

  • YorkshirePudding on August 18, 2014, 20:55 GMT

    @peter56, actually hammoned averaged 58 per innings not per test, and I based my numbers on a commesurate number of innings. Yes there will be deviations, as the player ages by the law of large numbers indicates that after a certain point the average fluctuates only by a smal margin of 4-5 runs per innings.

    You inital post stated quite clearly that it would be a hollow record, and so I added some context around a few of the previous greats, of the game, which shows that over time the number of innings played over a career, is increasing, so to say the record for most runs is hollow, must also be true of SRT's record by your logic. Thus the only true measure of greatness is to compare on an innings by innings basis, to see where players are at any given point in time.

    At 140 innings Hammond had 7249 runs, SRT by comparrison had 7200 that makes them about on par, in terms of runs so if hammond played the same number of innings he may well have ended up with more runs.

  • Valavan on August 18, 2014, 19:53 GMT

    @Madan sivakumar, where are you buying grapes. Are they very sour. save some kilos for ODI series as well. We have already marked your words during series start. Your batters were greater than any batter from SA, Aus or SL, but england just showed who are your batters, Pujara, kohli, Dhawan, dhoni, jadeja..

  • eggyroe on August 18, 2014, 17:31 GMT

    @ peter56 ,Joe Root,as a strong possibility especially if he plays against the present Indian bowling attack.

  • eggyroe on August 18, 2014, 17:20 GMT

    What has all this talk about other players,got to do with the gist of this article that Alistair Cook's good lady talked him out of giving up the captaincy of England,in my opinion absolutely nothing.When he finally retires he can look back on a good Test Match record that many people would give their eye teeth for.In my opinion he would not get into my lifetime all time cricket X1,but then the most modern players would be Shane Warne & Adam Gilchrist. Tendulkar has over the last 20 years scored the most Test Match Runs,but to get into my lifetime eleven he would in my opinion have to be better than Viv Richards,The Don and Gary Sobers,and I do not think he is by any stretch of the imagination any better.

  • peter56 on August 18, 2014, 16:29 GMT

    Yorkshire pudding I am not Indian I am not a particular fan of SRT either but I am dealing in facts not your Hammond /Hobbs/bradmans what ifs. the fact is SRT is the leading run scorer in test history, in my opinion the only batsman who can overhaul Him is Alastair Cook (.please name me the other candidate),and the only reason he is possible to do this is that he gets to play way more tests than any batsman from any other country,so if and when he passes SRT. Maybe you will then analyse their respective records and tell me that cook's average of 13 tests per year does not make it a hollow achievement to overtake someone who only got to average 8 per year. As for your extrapolation its not that simple to just say Hammond averaged 85 runs per test and then multiply it by 200 the answer is 17,000 . You have to presume that Hammond and HObbs both started their test careers as 16 year olds instead of a mature 24 and 25 long before they were good enough. 8 years of struggle.

  • YorkshirePudding on August 18, 2014, 15:52 GMT

    @ electric_loco_WAP4, Warner no way, hes 27and nly has 2700 test run AB is also a year older than Cook and SA don't play as many tests as England. Root is a good call though, however lets temper that with the realisation that anything can happen over the next 10-15 years of roots career.

  • peter56 on August 18, 2014, 15:10 GMT

    landl47 :my point is during 2012 and 2013 some English journalists and ex players were pointing out the fact that Chef had scored more runs than any other batsman in test history at a comparable age,with the single comment this shows you how good he must be. No qualification was ever mentioned i.e. the incredible number of tests he had managed to cram in,to such a short period of time to do it. the facts were conveniently glossed over,the inference being that Cook must be a great batsman to have achieved this feat,instead of what he actually is a pretty good batsman, lets not put this single bare stat into any type of context,why let the facts get in the way of a good stat.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on August 18, 2014, 15:04 GMT

    Cooks record as good as it is now and with the no. of tests Eng play he will easily break Sachins records. But Cooks records will be ultimately bested by current gen batting super stars Dave Warner,AB D Villiers and even Joe Root.

  • YorkshirePudding on August 18, 2014, 13:44 GMT

    @peter56, sorry but that's irrelevant, its like saying SRT only has the record because Bradman, Jack Hobbs, and Hammond dint play as many games, if you extrapolate their runs over the length of career RT had they would have secured significantly more than SRT, Bradman would have been n around 30,000 test runs, Hobbs around 18,500, and Hammond around 19,000, even Border and Sunil Gavaskar would have around 16,000.

    I don't intend to disrespect SRT, a great player but just add a sobering thought and some context.

    Cook has the potential to break SRT's record as do a number of other batsmen in world cricket, but it doesn't mean the record is hollow.

  • landl47 on August 18, 2014, 13:06 GMT

    @peter56: Cook isn't as good a batsman as Tendulkar or Sanga. He wouldn't claim to be and only the most one-eyed England fan would make that claim. But hey, they're two of the very greatest ever to play the game. He won't break Tendulkar's record and if he gets more runs than Sanga, it will indeed be because he's played more tests.

    So what's your point? Do you think that saying Cook isn't the BEST player in the game makes him a bad player? If he averages 45 through his career and scores 30 test centuries, he's still a very good player, isn't he?

  • landl47 on August 18, 2014, 12:57 GMT

    It's been something of a rollercoaster since Cook became captain in 2012. He started with an unbelievable high, when England beat India in India and he made 3 big centuries. Then there was a dull drawn series in NZ (0-0). Then England got on a roll, beating NZ 2-0 and Australia 3-0 in the 2013 English season. Then we had the tour of Australia when a revitalized Mitchell Johnson took 37 wickets @15 and smashed England. The Sri Lanka series was weird- England won almost every day of both games and still lost the series, due to that awful 4th day in the second test that Cook mentions. Then came India and England's resurgence.

    The big difference now is that this is a young team, with 8 players in the squad 25 or younger and only 2 over 30. They will get better- indeed, they have got better at an astonishing rate. Cook needs to improve his own form, but otherwise this looks to be the nucleus of a very good side. The road won't be smooth, but the future looks bright.

  • SinSpider on August 18, 2014, 12:35 GMT

    This is a very soap-opera kind of comment from Cook. It is fair to say that India have performed unbelievably bad in the last three tests. I would not say that England performed superlatively and that their questions after Lord's have been answered. By their admission, Moen Ali is a part time spinner and any decent team would not hand him 4 or 5 wicket hauls in an innings (India did!). For England's own good, they should treat this series as a confidence booster only and concentrate on how to fill the gaps. Alaistair Cook's captaincy is safe for time being but he will face the music soon against better Test playing countries.

  • peter56 on August 18, 2014, 12:09 GMT

    Cook made his debut in 2006 and 8 years later has 109 tests played Michael Clarke is second ( excluding england players ) on 85 tests during this period Sanga has played 75 tests out of a possible 76. yet in 34 fewer tests and 60 fewer innings he has onlly 200 less runs averaging 67 compared to cooks 46. oh and he has more centuries too 29 to 25 from 60 fewer innings. england from next April are due to play 17 tests in 9 months which means before the 10th anniversary of his test debut he will have played 126 tests.he is on course to play 200 tests by 36 this having debuted at 21 I think he will score more tests runs than Sachin and Sanga simply because he plays twice as many tests as they got to play. it will be the most hollow record of all due to this fact.Chef is well aware that all he has to do is contiue to average 45 for the next 6 years or so and he will fall over the 16,000 runs mark. no excellence needed from him to get this record

  • on August 18, 2014, 11:45 GMT

    Utter rot, the powers that be-the new 'brave contingent', compromising Downton, Moores, knew that if Cook failed, they were going to be going down with him, India capitulated like flies being swatted, this was no England win, it was a very bad dose of dysentery by India, and a heap of them should face the music

  • on August 18, 2014, 11:13 GMT

    sorry Mr cook.. I can only advise u not to live under this delusion .. India handed the series on a platter in perhaps the most incredible manner ever seen in test cricket .. even a bunch of school guys would have batted with more determination... the last 2 tests were decided within the 1st hour of play and hence this series has masked a lot of your team s flaws - u apparently haven't got back ur nick ; Ian bell s still out of form ; Jordan and woakes can't pick a single wicket against more determined batsmen ; mark my words moeen Ali will be smashed when he faces Aus or SA or even SL; Sam Robson was a sitting duck even against Ind; ... therefore it won't be long before u would have to get back to helpless words... beware

  • Udendra on August 18, 2014, 11:01 GMT

    After a dismal performance in SL tour, this is a great come-back by Cook.

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  • Udendra on August 18, 2014, 11:01 GMT

    After a dismal performance in SL tour, this is a great come-back by Cook.

  • on August 18, 2014, 11:13 GMT

    sorry Mr cook.. I can only advise u not to live under this delusion .. India handed the series on a platter in perhaps the most incredible manner ever seen in test cricket .. even a bunch of school guys would have batted with more determination... the last 2 tests were decided within the 1st hour of play and hence this series has masked a lot of your team s flaws - u apparently haven't got back ur nick ; Ian bell s still out of form ; Jordan and woakes can't pick a single wicket against more determined batsmen ; mark my words moeen Ali will be smashed when he faces Aus or SA or even SL; Sam Robson was a sitting duck even against Ind; ... therefore it won't be long before u would have to get back to helpless words... beware

  • on August 18, 2014, 11:45 GMT

    Utter rot, the powers that be-the new 'brave contingent', compromising Downton, Moores, knew that if Cook failed, they were going to be going down with him, India capitulated like flies being swatted, this was no England win, it was a very bad dose of dysentery by India, and a heap of them should face the music

  • peter56 on August 18, 2014, 12:09 GMT

    Cook made his debut in 2006 and 8 years later has 109 tests played Michael Clarke is second ( excluding england players ) on 85 tests during this period Sanga has played 75 tests out of a possible 76. yet in 34 fewer tests and 60 fewer innings he has onlly 200 less runs averaging 67 compared to cooks 46. oh and he has more centuries too 29 to 25 from 60 fewer innings. england from next April are due to play 17 tests in 9 months which means before the 10th anniversary of his test debut he will have played 126 tests.he is on course to play 200 tests by 36 this having debuted at 21 I think he will score more tests runs than Sachin and Sanga simply because he plays twice as many tests as they got to play. it will be the most hollow record of all due to this fact.Chef is well aware that all he has to do is contiue to average 45 for the next 6 years or so and he will fall over the 16,000 runs mark. no excellence needed from him to get this record

  • SinSpider on August 18, 2014, 12:35 GMT

    This is a very soap-opera kind of comment from Cook. It is fair to say that India have performed unbelievably bad in the last three tests. I would not say that England performed superlatively and that their questions after Lord's have been answered. By their admission, Moen Ali is a part time spinner and any decent team would not hand him 4 or 5 wicket hauls in an innings (India did!). For England's own good, they should treat this series as a confidence booster only and concentrate on how to fill the gaps. Alaistair Cook's captaincy is safe for time being but he will face the music soon against better Test playing countries.

  • landl47 on August 18, 2014, 12:57 GMT

    It's been something of a rollercoaster since Cook became captain in 2012. He started with an unbelievable high, when England beat India in India and he made 3 big centuries. Then there was a dull drawn series in NZ (0-0). Then England got on a roll, beating NZ 2-0 and Australia 3-0 in the 2013 English season. Then we had the tour of Australia when a revitalized Mitchell Johnson took 37 wickets @15 and smashed England. The Sri Lanka series was weird- England won almost every day of both games and still lost the series, due to that awful 4th day in the second test that Cook mentions. Then came India and England's resurgence.

    The big difference now is that this is a young team, with 8 players in the squad 25 or younger and only 2 over 30. They will get better- indeed, they have got better at an astonishing rate. Cook needs to improve his own form, but otherwise this looks to be the nucleus of a very good side. The road won't be smooth, but the future looks bright.

  • landl47 on August 18, 2014, 13:06 GMT

    @peter56: Cook isn't as good a batsman as Tendulkar or Sanga. He wouldn't claim to be and only the most one-eyed England fan would make that claim. But hey, they're two of the very greatest ever to play the game. He won't break Tendulkar's record and if he gets more runs than Sanga, it will indeed be because he's played more tests.

    So what's your point? Do you think that saying Cook isn't the BEST player in the game makes him a bad player? If he averages 45 through his career and scores 30 test centuries, he's still a very good player, isn't he?

  • YorkshirePudding on August 18, 2014, 13:44 GMT

    @peter56, sorry but that's irrelevant, its like saying SRT only has the record because Bradman, Jack Hobbs, and Hammond dint play as many games, if you extrapolate their runs over the length of career RT had they would have secured significantly more than SRT, Bradman would have been n around 30,000 test runs, Hobbs around 18,500, and Hammond around 19,000, even Border and Sunil Gavaskar would have around 16,000.

    I don't intend to disrespect SRT, a great player but just add a sobering thought and some context.

    Cook has the potential to break SRT's record as do a number of other batsmen in world cricket, but it doesn't mean the record is hollow.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on August 18, 2014, 15:04 GMT

    Cooks record as good as it is now and with the no. of tests Eng play he will easily break Sachins records. But Cooks records will be ultimately bested by current gen batting super stars Dave Warner,AB D Villiers and even Joe Root.

  • peter56 on August 18, 2014, 15:10 GMT

    landl47 :my point is during 2012 and 2013 some English journalists and ex players were pointing out the fact that Chef had scored more runs than any other batsman in test history at a comparable age,with the single comment this shows you how good he must be. No qualification was ever mentioned i.e. the incredible number of tests he had managed to cram in,to such a short period of time to do it. the facts were conveniently glossed over,the inference being that Cook must be a great batsman to have achieved this feat,instead of what he actually is a pretty good batsman, lets not put this single bare stat into any type of context,why let the facts get in the way of a good stat.