Cook: I wasn't close to quitting during Ashes
Alastair Cook has rejected talk he was close to quitting cricket during England's miserable Ashes series defeat in Australia.
Opener and former captain Cook struggled for runs for much of England's 4-0 defeat, 244 of his 376 coming as he carried his bat in the drawn fourth Test on the much-maligned drop-in pitch at the MCG.
No longer a fixture in limited-overs international cricket, there had been talk of Cook calling time on a career that has seen him rack up 12,005 Test runs, good for sixth on the all-time list.
He will look to move closer to Kumar Sangakkara, who is fifth with 12,400, as England face New Zealand in a two-Test series, which starts in Auckland on Thursday.
Writing ahead of that series in a column for Sky Sports, Cook said: "There has been a little bit in the papers over the last couple of days saying that I was close to quitting cricket during the Ashes - these things don't always come out right.
"I wasn't close to quitting, I was asked a question about how tough it was and it was a tough period of my career, I wasn't playing as well as I'd have liked.
"Naturally, those questions about finishing are going to be asked, they were asked and I give an honest answer - "Yes, it was it tough and you do doubt yourself" - then the headline comes up that I was ready to quit. That isn't the case.
"Yes, it is tough and you go through dark moments but a lot of people who have played a lot of cricket go through those periods.
"During those times you've got to trust yourself a bit and draw a bit of confidence from the fact that over 150 Test matches - and without wanting to sound arrogant - I've done it a few times and scored runs at the highest level.
"Knowing that you have that record behind you is crucial and you have to try not to panic too much. Like most things, when you're playing badly, things often aren't as bad as you think and when you're playing well, you're probably not as good as everyone says you are.
"There is always that happy medium, I've always kept myself somewhere in the middle. I just try to stay calm, trust my ability and try to keep doing the right things. You can't search for the magic answer because there isn't one, it is a combination of a lot of things - stay true to yourself and trust yourself.
"Clearly when it is tough, you can doubt yourself a lot but it is putting those thoughts as far as you can to the back of your mind and concentrate on the important thing, which is the next ball coming down, and just trying to get in.
"That's batting, and at the top of the order against world-class players getting through the new ball can be quite hard work but I've done it in the past and hopefully I'll do it again in the future."