Having played one of his most fluent knocks in Test Cricket in his last International innings, England opening batsman Alastair Cook has said that he is glad to have ended an illustrious career on a high.
A freed-up mind saw Cook get back to his best for the one last time for his lovers around the globe and he followed his assured knock of 71 in the first innings with an amazing knock of 147 in the second.
There are talks going around, albeit a bit quietly, that Cook, who is just 33, can still be playing for a little longer but the great man has expressed he's had enough.
"It's always nice to have people wanting a little bit more than trying to kick you out," Cook said at the press conference on Day 4, "It (the hundred) absolutely confirms [my decision to retire]. It's been something that's been coming for 12-18 months, not just one bad series or a bit of bad form. It's just time. It's time for me – it's time for my family."
"To go out on your own terms when your last ever innings for England was a hundred. I don't know how I've managed it, to be brutally honest,"
There was divine jubilation in the smile and relief in the teary eyes, as he saw an overthrow from the fielding side go through to the boundary before raising his bat to take the resounding applause from The Oval. Cook leaves the game like one aspires to be.
He himself tried to sum up one of the great moments in our sport and said, "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 launched that pretty hard’. I actually thought it was four straightaway."
"I didn’t see Pujara running after it so actually it could have been quite embarrassing if I started celebrating and he actually stopped it and I was on 99. It saved me a lot of heartache. 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."
And then, the Oval got up and admired the man of substance for the one last time and they just didn't stop before letting the man know how much they all love him.
Cook feels, "It was just incredible, Rooty was like, 'hang on a minute, I’ve got some runs to get as well here,'when he was marking his guard and they wouldn’t shut up."
Talking about his wife, who was present at the ground and her support, Cook, in conclusion, said, "It's just been the most surreal four days of my life, I suppose if she goes into labour tonight, that'll probably top it off."
(Inputs from SPORTSTAR Live)