'England selectors would have been entitled to drop me'
Alastair Cook said selectors would have been entitled to drop him over his poor form - before his masterful doublecentury put England in a winning position in the fourth Ashes Test.
The unflappable opening batsman crushed Australia's hopes of sweeping the five-Test series with an unbeaten 244 to put the tourists 164 runs ahead of Australia with two days left. The Ashes are already gone after England lost the opening three Tests, with Cook contributing just 83 runs in six innings. But he made at least partial amends with his towering double-century.
Cook, 33, said he would have understood being dropped, but he bounced back in the Boxing Day Test to present his team with a chance of victory.
"They would have been entitled just because I literally hadn't scored a run since Edgbaston," Cook said, referring to his 243 against the West Indies in August. "I always feel I've got the backing of the selectors but you've still got to deliver the goods, I hadn't done that on this tour. It was very frustrating."
Cook's fifth double-century also catapulted him above West Indian Brian Lara to become the sixth highest run-getter in Test cricket with 11,956. "I've doubted myself for 12 years and I'll probably continue to doubt myself but obviously the longer it goes the harder it becomes.
"But I suppose that's why I can be quite proud of going to the well again and delivering a performance like that was pleasing. "It's just a shame it's three or four weeks too late, I'll have to live with that for a long time but it's nice to score a few." The former captain, 33, said he had been working hard in the nets to recapture form and felt he had re-discovered his scoring rhythm.
"I've always worked hard on my whole game and my approach to cricket, so unfortunately most of my runs are pretty ugly runs and quite hard work, that hasn't changed throughout my whole career," he said. "Obviously, with my batting over a period of time, there are quite a few moving parts to it. When they're not quite in sync it can be quite frustrating."
Cook said he had been given great support by the England team during his barren run before posting his 32nd Test century in his 151st Test match. "The feeling when I walked into the change room last night was very special, and obviously today as well," he said. "The team has been fantastic. Obviously, we've had an interesting journey on this tour with a lot of things going on.