England batsman Alastair Cook rules out Test retirement rethink in future

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Time is up: Alastair Cook

Alastair Cook has left no room for any U-turn after insisting his Test retirement is final – come what may.

Cook, who announced on Monday that this week’s fifth Test will be the last of his record-breaking 161-match career, admits it is a tough call to say ‘never again’.

Nonetheless, pushed on the subject during his round of valedictory press interviews at The Oval, England’s all-time record runscorer spelled out that he will never play Test cricket again after bowing out against India.

Instead, he will play on for his lifelong club Essex – having signed a new three-year contract – an arrangement he believes may be a huge help when the inevitable “mourning” for his Test career kicks in.

At the suggestion he may be tempted, perhaps for example this time next year, to return on the back of a fruitful domestic season – especially if England happen to be struggling – the 33-year-old opener said: “That is a very tough question to answer, but no.

“I’m retiring, and that’s it. It is final.

“All those glorious things are just hypothetical. I have done my bit.”

Cook admits he was emotional when he broke it to his team-mates last weekend that he was about to retire.

He was less so in his Oval press conference, and does not expect to be afflicted either when he walks out to bat in his last match.

“I don’t think so,” he said.

“You just don’t know do you what reaction you’ll get from the crowd, but I’ll just be focused on getting some runs.

“It’ll be slightly strange but I’ll just try to enjoy the week.

“We’ve still got a game to win for England – so I want to approach it the same way as other games, but obviously knowing it will be my last.”

There will be one other consideration on Cook’s mind this week too – because his wife Alice is due to give birth to their third child, a due date coinciding with the likely end of the match.

England have not chosen cover for Cook’s position in their 13-man squad, and he does not appear to have his mind set on a dash to the hospital at this stage.

“It’s very difficult to predict,” he said.

“She might have to do it by herself, I think.

“Ideally it will come after the match, or even better you get a hundred and then it comes when they’re about to bat, and you don’t have to field.

“That would be ideal, then come back and have another bat second innings, but I doubt that will happen.”

If there is a small amount of wishful thinking from Cook on that, his plan to play on for his county appears more grounded.

“Being able to play for Essex is an important thing,” he added.

“There is going to be a transition, there are going to be times when you get that mourning.

“I think having the opportunity to play for Essex over the next couple of years will help that a lot.”

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Keshav Maharaj secures dramatic tie for Lancashire against Somerset defending 77

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Keshav Maharaj of Lancashire (l).

Seven wickets from Keshav Maharaj saw Lancashire clinch a dramatic tie inside two days against Somerset in the County Championship Division One match at Taunton.

Set only 78 to win after Jack Leach (7-74) completed career-best match figures of 12-102 in Lancashire’s second innings of 170, Somerset crashed to 77 all out – their last two wickets falling with one run needed to win.

Left-arm spinner Maharaj (7-37) was the hero, ending with 11-102 in the match, while Graham Onions contributed three important wickets as no home batsman could reach 20 under pressure.

Both teams took 11 points from the first Championship tie since 2003 and the outcome proved what could be a mortal blow to Somerset’s hopes of a first ever Championship title.

The hosts will also be awaiting the outcome of the pitch report from ECB Cricket Liaison Officer Dean Cosker with some concern after 25 wickets in the match fell to spin, and 22 wickets falling on the first day.

Lancashire director of cricket Paul Allott said: “We would have taken a tie at 10:30 this morning I can tell you. It was a hugely dramatic game, although I am not sure how good it was. What It has done is caught people’s attention and put County Championship cricket in the spotlight.

“The pitch, in my view, was certainly below average and could have been rated poor on the ECB scale. It was disappointing to be confronted by those conditions, but we produced a stunning performance in the field this afternoon to come out of a game we were behind in on level terms.

“Spin won the day, but if you can’t turn a ball on that wicket there isn’t much hope for you. It was a loose and dusty surface, which you would expect bowlers of international calibre to perform on as well as they did.”

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Alastair Cook 'cried' as he told England team-mates of his retirement

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Farewell: Alastair Cook in Thursday's press conference

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.”

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