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

  • peter 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

  • Damon 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 ?"

  • Farhan 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

  • Peter 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????

  • Jason 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..

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

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

  • John 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.

  • peter 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.

  • Jason 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.

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