Alastair Cook revealed he has been considering retirement for the last six months.
England’s record run-scorer announced he will call time on his international career after the fifth Test with India at the Oval this week.
Cook said: “It’s hard to put it into words but over the last six months there have been signs in my mind this was going to happen.
“I always had been mentally tough and had that edge to everything I’ve done and that edge had kind of gone.”
The 33-year-old eventually made the decision ahead of last week’s fourth Test with India, where England secured a series win.
He informed captain Joe Root before the game and head coach Trevor Bayliss while it was going on, but the rest of the squad found out afterwards.
“I told Rooty before the game and then told Trevor during the game,” Cook said.
“I was a couple of a drinks 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 said, ‘It might be good news, it might be sad for some, it might be happy for others but it’s time and I have done my bit. I will play one more game’.
“There was a little bit of silence, then Mo (Ali) said something, everybody laughed and then it was forgotten about.
“In this day and age it’s very hard to keep anything quiet.
“If it was 2-2 I would have kept my mouth shut. But when you are asked questions it is hard to lie.
“There might be a bit of fuss around me, if it was 2-2 I would have kept my mouth shut, but when you have made that decision in your mind it is always playing on your mind.”
Cook will leave the game as the country’s most decorated player, even if he was not as talented as some of his contemporaries.
“I can look back and say, I became the best I could become, that actually means quite a lot to me,” he said.
“I have never been the most talented cricketer, I don’t pretend I was but I definitely think I got everything out of my ability.
“Everyone was talking as if I’d died. It’s nice when you hear so many nice words said about you. The last couple of days I have been back at home but I had a look last night.
“Hopefully this week can go well, score some runs and then I can go. It would be fantastic, it would be great for England to win, 4-1 sounds better than 3-2, and if I can play a really good innings that would be fantastic.”
Cook will continue playing for Essex after the club announced the left-hander had signed a new three-year deal.
Head coach Anthony McGrath said on Essex’s official website: “It’s great news that Cooky has committed his future to the club.
“He’s one of the best batsmen in the world and he’s so important for us both on and off the pitch. He’s a great person to have around the club and is a great role model for the young players coming through.
“He also has the ability to change a game with his batting and that’s something everyone wants in their team.”