London, Sept 5 (PTI) England opener Alastair Cook says he decided to call it quits since he had lost the mental edge with which he managed all his tasks with ease. The fifth and final Test begins at the Oval on Friday, and with the hosts already 3-1 up, it will be the last international match of Cooks 12-year-long career. “I’ve always had that mental edge, I have always been mentally incredibly tough and had that edge to everything I have done but that edge had kind of gone. The thing I had found easy before was not quite there and to me that was the biggest thing, Cook said. He said he would have kept the decision to himself if the series had not been decided in Southampton. “It’s been a bit surreal. One of my friends rang me to check I was still alive because everyone was talking as if Id died. It is nice when you hear so many nice words said about you. For example, someone stopped me when I was driving in and made me wind down the window and said thank you very much. That was a nice moment. Hopefully this week I can score some runs and then go, Cook said. Asked about the decision to call time on his long career, Cook replied, It’s hard to put into words but there have been signs in my mind over the last six months. I told Joe Root before the game (in Southampton) and then Trevor Bayliss during the game. In this day and age its very difficult to keep anything quiet. If it were 2-2 Id have kept my mouth shut.”advertisement “When you get asked questions (from the media) its hard to constantly lie. Ive been pretty good at it! But theres certain stuff when youre asked questions you know youre not being true to yourself. There might be a bit of fuss about it and if it were 2-2 Id have kept my mouth shut.” “At Southampton, I was a couple of beers 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 just said this might be good news for some and sad for others but its time. Ive done my bit and if picked the next game will be my last one. Thats kind of all I said. There was a bit of silence, Moeen Ali said something, we all laughed and everyone got on with it. We had a nice evening in the changing room. Cook also led England in 59 Tests and 92 ODIs. He termed the Ashes win in Australia (under Andrew Strauss) in 2010-11 and the 2-1 series win in India under his leadership (in 2012) as the highlights of his record-breaking career.”You cant really look past those two away series where I was man of the series and we won in Australia and India. That was the best I could play and probably in my career as a whole I can look back and say I probably became the best player I could become. That actually means quite a lot to me. Yes, Ive never been the most talented cricketer and I cant pretend I was but I definitely think I got everything out of my ability.” Cook regretted the Kevin Pietersen saga and as one of the decision makers to sack him from the team, he said the situation could have been better handled. “Of course there are decisions in hindsight that you question. Clearly the KP affair was a tough year, theres no doubt about that. The fall-out of that wasnt great for English cricket and wasnt great for me. I was involved in that decision without being the bloke who actually made the final decision. The fall-out of that decision and the effect it had for 12 months was immense.” “It could have been handled differently. The moment Andrew Strauss came on board and said he was making the decision, personally for me that was the best thing that could have happened. I have a regret over it, it wasn’t great for English cricket. The end of the SL series and the Lord’s Test, that was the lowest I was. Having got out to Ishant Sharma in Nottingham in 2014, Cook has since been dismissed 11 times by the Indian pacer. The opener said that he is one of the toughest bowlers to face. I think I must regret getting Ishant Sharma out as my wicket, because he’s kind of got his revenge since getting me out constantly over the last couple of series. The ball going away from me from around the wicket I found the hardest to conquer but in general, a bowler how maybe is not the quickest but constantly hits line and lengths – it goes as an 11 year old and old 60 year old dropped it on a length. I never had the power or the shots to nock bowlers off there lengths. So a bowler who hangs it there and doesn’t give me the pace to work with, that I found the hardest, said Cook, who has been suffering a poor patch in this series.advertisement Cook also spoke about his affinity towards cricket and what the future holds for him, particularly further association with English cricket. The battle between bat and ball (is what made fall in love with cricket). Its a one-on-one thing. I love that stuff, but you play it in a team. I love the individual sport stuff but the experiences Ive had with some great people over 12 or 15 years, if youre on your own in an individual sport I dont think you get that. That individual thing: me versus the bowler, but you get that team as well and thats why it suits me so well. I’m still going to play for Essex, that’s been brushed under the carpet a bit, I am really looking forward to that. PTI ATAT
New Delhi: The Congress hit out at the BJP-led Centre on Wednesday over D K Shivakumar’s arrest, asserting the opposition party will not be intimidated by the “politics of persecution” and continue to pose “hard questions” to the government.It also said the 96 days of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s second term are characterised by three words — “tyranny, chaos and anarchy”. Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari cited economic slowdown, “undeclared emergency” in Kashmir and the situation in Assam following the publication of the updated final NRC, to claim there has been a “complete breakdown of governance” in the Narendra Modi government’s second term. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’At a press conference, he alleged in order to cover up this complete breakdown of governance, continued “persecution” of opposition leaders was being carried out and the arrest of Shivakumar is the latest in a series of “continued political vendetta”. “D K Shivakumar’s only crime was that he provided protection to those Congress MLAs of Gujarat who were being poached by the NDA-BJP during the Rajya Sabha elections,” Tewari said. The Enforcement Directorate arrested Shivakumar in the national capital on Tuesday in connection with a money-laundering case after grilling the Congress’ Karnataka troubleshooter repeatedly over the past few days. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K”Has there been any conviction of any opposition leaders in the last five years? For the last five years, this politics of persecution has been carried on relentlessly against opposition leaders of every shade and hue,” he said. Tewari said the reason that there has not been a single conviction by any court of law is that there is a difference between persecution and prosecution. “Persecution only requires misuse and abuse of state instruments. When the lawyers of the government plead for custodial interrogation in the courts of law, it is a euphemism for physical, mental and emotional torture of their political opponents,” he said. “What you have been witnessing in the last five years is not unbiased, neutral prosecution but subjective, arbitrary and whimsical persecution being carried out by investigating agencies at the behest of their political masters,” Tewari told reporters. The Indian National Congress is not going to be cowed down and it is not going to be intimidated. As the premier political party of the country, it will continue to ask the “hard questions”, the party spokesperson said. “We will continue to demand answers, we will continue to agitate and we will continue to keep democracy alive in this country. We will not allow democracy to be stifled through intimidation being perpetrated by the NDA-BJP government,” Tewari said.