The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hussain ready to hand over top job

London: Hinting at an early step-down from Test captaincy, Nasser Hussain has said he wants to hand over the reins to his successor while his team was still winning.

“The captaincy is not something I’m going to hang on to,” said the 35-year-old Hussain, who will lead England for the 45th time in the Test against South Africa on Thursday, in an interview published in the News Of The World on Sunday.

Hussain, who retired from one-day cricket after the 2003 World Cup, said he wanted to hand over a winning team to his successor, most probably Michael Vaughan.

“If the selectors ring me tomorrow and say ‘we think Vaughanie’s ready’ that’s fine with me,” Hussain said.

“No-one is more pleased than me that Michael Vaughan has done well (as one-day captain). I don’t want to hand over after four and half years and see everything go downhill.

“I would like to hand over a winning team. Michael is being eased in nicely. Soon, he’ll get the whole lot and he will be raring to go. Believe me, the time is not far away. Whether it’s two months or a bit longer, someone else will wear the captain’s armband and I have no problem with that.

“But, at the moment, England are scoring runs, taking wickets, winning Tests and one-dayers with young players that are coming through.”

Hussain said: “It is better for me to choose the moment than the selectors. It’s all about timing. I’ll know that moment. “As Mike Brearley said, when you wake up and you’re no longer England captain, it will hurt.”

Hussain, however, made it clear that he wanted to continue at least till the tour of West Indies later this year. “Whatever happens, I’d like to tour the Caribbean this winter. I’m batting well at the moment and my form has been good over the past couple of years,” he said.

Hussain will be in charge of a side that includes veteran Alec Stewart, 40 and Darren Gough but not Graham Thorpe.

Hussain said it was vital his team made a good start in the upcoming Test series against South Africa. “South Africa are there for the taking. They are down and we must nail them.” (PTI)

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