KOLKATA: England's batting mainstay in the ongoing Test series against India, captain Alastair Cook on Sunday credited his fantastic form to a stint in county side Essex after being dropped from the limited-overs team in 2008-09.
"When I got left out from England one-day side, and played a lot of one-dayers for Essex, T20Is...It forces you to expand your game. I was forced to take on new shots and realising that I could play them and with confidence to play them in a four-day or five-day game.
"I have worked very hard alongside Goochy (batting coach Graham Gooch)," Cook, who has 500-plus runs in the series, said.
In a record-breaking innings of 190, Cook became the leading English centurion with 23 hundreds and also became the youngest to join the 7,000-club in the third Test that concluded on Sunday.
Cook said the feeling had not sunk in yet. "I obviously got a little lucky early on but we said, on that wicket if we can bat as long as we can, we'll give ourselves a great position, and luckily I went on to get a big hundred," he said.
"In the beginning of the tour, we said the guys who get in must go big. It's tough to get in but once you do, you get that rhythm and it's about maintaining that rhythm.
"Yes, scoring the 23rd hundred was a very good moment for me. It's been a very stressful last couple of days. Personally, I want to keep scoring runs. Hope I can do it one more time," he added.
On becoming the leading English centurion, Cook said, "I wouldn't have known what the record was. It's great to have contributed to an amazing couple of games. Hopefully I can do it one more time."
Cook was run out in a bizarre fashion ending his majestic innings 10 runs short of a double century.
"There will be a video somewhere for the rest of my life. I just had a brain failure. I was walking back and saw this ball coming back. My first reaction was to flinch when most people will have put there bat in...realisation that I had done it was more embarrassing."