Alastair Cook has revealed how close he came to stepping down as England captain.
Cook’s leadership came under immense pressure during the past 18 months.
The 30-year-old was sacked as ODI skipper during a Test century drought that lasted almost two years, while he was routinely criticised during the Kevin Pietersen saga.
Cook found form with the bat in the lead-up to the Ashes then captained with a new-found sense of aggression as England reclaimed the urn.
But even when he went to sleep after the hosts’ crushing win at Trent Bridge, which gave them an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-Test series, Cook was unsure whether he would continue as captain.
“I pretty much decided last Sunday,” Cook told The Daily Mail.
“I woke up and immediately started thinking about trying to win the Ashes 4-1 and then about what we will have to do to win against Pakistan.
“It came quickly to me to start planning ahead and that told me that I probably wanted to carry on a bit longer.
“I haven’t spoken to Andrew Strauss yet and I don’t want to look too far ahead, the one-day stuff has taught me that.
“But as long as they still want me and as long as Trevor Bayliss doesn’t have other ideas, I’ll carry on.”
Cook and Bayliss, who was appointed England coach before the Ashes, have achieved much in a short space of time.
Cook admitted the humbling lows that followed his side’s 5-0 loss in the 2013-14 Ashes took their toll.
“There have been some really dark moments in the last year or so,” he said.
“There was the KP affair and that dragged English cricket through some bad periods.
“I bore the brunt of that negativity and it took it out of me and my family. To come through that means a lot.
“This is not a ‘poor me’ thing but I felt in the really low moments that I was getting blamed for absolutely everything that had gone wrong.”
Cook added he was “proud” to have stayed strong.
“There were times when I found it very hard to deal with and was very close to giving it all up,” he said.