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Hussain stays off controversy

Johannesburg: England captain Nasser Hussain remained upbeat despite a series of defeats in Australia and the controversy surrounding the scheduled match in Zimbabwe as his squad arrived in South Africa for the World Cup Tuesday.

Asked about the February 13 match against Zimbabwe in Harare, Hussain referred reporters to his team’s request in a statement Monday for an “urgent review” of the venue because of the political climate in Zimbabwe.

“We’re looking forward to playing the cricket, which is what we’re supposed to do, and let people off the field make those sorts of decisions,” he said. The England squad arrived at Jo’burg International Airport straight from Australia. “We don’t want to put it (the defeats in Australia) behind us, we want to learn from it,” Hussain said. “I think it will make the side stronger. “Although the beating was a little over the top, maybe that’s what we needed. Every side in cricket has been through a similar experience in Australia recently — we are not alone,” he said.

The England squad is to take three days off at the Sun City golf resort north west of Jo’burg before travelling to their tournament base in Port Elizabeth at the weekend. “We want to keep the side together as a unit,” said Hussain. “Sides that win tournaments are sides that are well knit. Obviously Australia and South Africa are favourites, but any side can win if it comes down to key games.”

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