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'I enjoyed working out the best way to motivate each player'
Source: ESPN Cricinfo | 15-03-2013

Have you picked up a bat since you retired?
I have, but only for a couple of corporate net sessions. I felt rusty but it was funny: even hitting those part-time bowlers around reminded me how much I love batting. It's very much part of who I am. There's no reason why I won't play the odd charity match in the future, but all those endless nights and all those days worrying about how I was going to perform are in the past. I won't miss that.

You must have considered continuing to play county cricket as a senior pro?
I did, yes. But in the end I concluded that I wouldn't have had the motivation to play properly. Other people may be able to go back into the game and fulfil a valuable role, but it is a personal thing and I decided it wasn't for me. I wouldn't have been in the best position to play well. I would always have been thinking about what I was going to be doing next - how I would set up a business or whatever it might be - and wouldn't have had the motivation.

There is a persistent rumour about you entering politics…
There is, but I don't know where it came from. It's not a route I'm considering at this stage. I suppose I am quite interested in politics, but you would have to be so committed to it to consider it as a career. It's not on my mind, really.

No doubt you've had the usual offers from the likes of Strictly Come Dancing and Celebrity Get me Out Of Here?
Yes, I had some polite enquiries from those sorts of shows. They got a pretty short answer in return. That's not the way I'll be going.

Was it frustrating to retire on the back of the defeat against South Africa? They were a very good side, but England didn't really do themselves justice, did they?
There is a sense of frustration. You're right: we didn't do ourselves justice as a team. We should have scored far more runs in that first innings at The Oval and made that game safe. It wasn't an easy time for the team. There were a lot of things going on and we came unstuck against a very, very good South Africa side. So yes, on the surface, that is a frustrating way to finish, but hopefully there were enough smiles and good memories along the way to outweigh any regrets.

When did you know it was time to retire? Can you explain a little about that process?
There wasn't a moment when I knew. It was something that dawned fairly gradually. It wasn't really a very healthy frame of mind to be in: I suppose I knew in the back of my mind for a while that my time was up, but I was trying to stop the thought taking root. Eventually it just became obvious.

I suppose it was probably halfway through the South Africa series when I decided: "This is definitely it. It's time to go." It had been on my mind for about six months, but only during the last three or four weeks did it come to the forefront.

I batted okay in that final season. I scored a couple of centuries against West Indies. But the combination of the batting and the captaincy was feeling more and more difficult and the team weren't playing as well as they had. I just felt the team needed refreshing. It needed a restart. And I didn't think I had the energy to lead it. In those situations, a new captain can sometimes come in and refresh things, and I think that's what we've seen happen. Alastair Cook has taken over and he has done fantastically well. That made it easier, as it vindicated the decision.

A lot of players struggle for equilibrium when they finish playing. How has it been for you?
It's not easy. I suppose there is an element of anti-climax about it. It's almost like going through a grieving process. You wake up in the morning wanting to do something important. And you're not. That can take time to get used to. I've given up something up that has been very important to me for a long time; for most of my life, really. Being a cricketer has been my identity for 15 years and now I've got to find something else. It's not easy to replace that. It's not easy to replicate that passion. I've told myself to relax. I've told myself I'll be doing important things again in the future.

Presumably you're still in touch with various members of the team?
Yes, but the nature of the relationship changes. It has to change. I have had to let go, really, and I know that. I've had my time. My journey is over, but it's just starting for Nick Compton and Joe Root and Alastair Cook as leader.

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