London, Sept 10: Retiring England batsman Alastair Cook says he has to thank Jasprit Bumrah for saving him from some “heartache” as the overthrow from the Indian pacer brought up his century in the final Test innings of his career.
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Batting at 96, Cook drove Ravindra Jadeja for a single in the cover region. Bumrah aimed hard at stumps and it resulted in giving five runs to the home opener.
Cook said it would have been very embarrassing for him if Cheteshwar Pujara had stopped the overthrow and he had started celebrating since he had not noticed the latter chasing the ball, so he will thank Bumrah for the overthrow.
“I remember cutting it for 97 thinking that’s three more to go. Just as he (Bumrah) let it go I thought, hang on a minute – he’s launched that pretty hard’. As soon as I saw Ravi (Jadeja) not anywhere near it I thought to hang on a minute hang on a minute’.
“Look – at (the overthrow) saved me a lot of heartaches. He’s (Bumrah) also caused me a lot of heartache in this series. For him to then give me that little moment there, I’ll thank him for a while,” said Cook.
“Then obviously it erupted. Joe (Root) didn’t say anything. He was just saying wow. He was just smiling. I think he was telling me to better take it in. The ovation was just incredible. That’s probably the only one I’ve really taken in and thought – wow’. Then obviously the last 10-minutes as well today was special,” he added.
Cook said the reception since his retirement announcement has been surreal and he is simply thankful enough to go out on a high.
“I can’t really describe the emotions I have felt in the last few days. It’s just been the most surreal four days of my life really. For all that to happen today, and every reception I’ve had over the last four days, it’s just been incredible. Even that last couple of overs, when the whole crowd was singing my ‘Barmy Army’ song, it was incredibly special,” said Cook.
“From a purely selfish point of view, I couldn’t have asked for a better week. But there have been bigger things, in more important games, which have meant more. On a purely emotional level, with a lot of my friends and family here, Alice’s granddad here, my mum and dad, Alice’s mum and dad, most of the farmers from Bedfordshire (his friends) as well.
“In one way, everybody said the pressure will be off. But it’s been one of those weeks where every reception I’ve got, then not to go and get naught, get out early, it has brought a different kind of pressure. To perform and have a day like that, after 160 other games, it’s a nice way to go,” he added.
The opener had managed only 109 runs in seven innings earlier in the series and said that the century only confirmed his decision to retire. Cook also scored 71 in the first innings, his first half-century since scoring against Pakistan at the start of this English summer.
When asked if this could possibly reverse his retirement decision, Cook said no, and added that it wasn’t a tough call to hang up his boots.
“It absolutely confirms it. This is not just the culmination of three or four low scores, bad games in a Test series. It’s been something that’s been coming for 12-18 months, not just a bit of bad form. That’s happened to me a number of times in my career.
“It is just time. It’s time for me it’s time for my family. It’s always nice people wanting a little bit more than trying to kick you out, and to go on your own terms makes it even better. It’s weird because actually, it was a really easy decision for me,” Cook said.
“I’ve spent all my life trying to play for England so then to give it up is obviously a big thing. But, it’s a bit like the captaincy – when you know it’s right, it’s right. This is just the icing on the cake, this final little bit, the last four days are unbelievable, he added.
The opener broke many records on the day, overtaking Kumar Sangakkara as the fifth-highest run-getter in Test cricket as well as overtaking Steve Waugh (32) in a number of centuries.
He became only the fifth batsman in history to score centuries in his first and last Tests. Cook said that it would be a brilliant moment to be able to go out on a high, particularly if India lose the series 4-1.
“I don’t know how I’ve managed it to be brutally honest. But it is nice that it’s happened. I’ve seen a few people go out not on their own terms and it’s obviously special. But to go out on your own terms when you’re last ever innings for England was a hundred. And obviously, tomorrow, if we can top it off with a win and a 4-1 win over the number one side in the world, would make it even more special,” said Cook.
“It’s strange how it (getting hundreds in first and last Tests) works. I don’t know who decides all that stuff. But, yeah there is, he signed off.