| HUSSAIN: Still game for Tests
Port Elizabeth: Nasser Hussain resigned as England one-day captain on Tuesday shortly after his side was knocked out of the World Cup. He made the announcement after Zimbabwe’s abandoned group A game against Pakistan confirmed England’s elimination.
“I believe it is in the best interests of the one-day side if I step down as captain,” he said. “I would like to stress that I am keen to carry on as Test captain but that will be for other people to decide.
“I believe I don’t warrant a place in the (one-day) side any more and it’s time England moved on. The decision will enable us to find a couple of people who can replace us old ones in the side. This decision is about the future of English cricket. I also believe it is time for someone else to come in.”
Hussain, 34, had said last month that he would review his future after the tournament. He said he had lost faith in both England cricket chiefs and the ICC after his team decided to boycott their match in Zimbabwe over security concerns.
“I am mentally and physically drained after this winter,” he had said. “I intend to have two months off and take myself off the selection panel. I hope this decision prolongs my career.” Hussain, who has played 81 Tests, reiterated that he wanted to continue to lead England in Tests.
“I want to play 100 Test matches and captain England in the Test arena for several years yet. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in the job. My form in Tests over the past couple of years has been very good.”
Hussain led England in 55 one-day Internationals, winning 27 and losing 27 with one no result. He averaged 31.16 with the bat during that time.
England’s refusal to play in Harare has come under fire again. England had forfeited four points to Zimbabwe after they refused to play their February 13 match in Harare due to safety concerns.
“England should have come, that’s the bottom line,” Vince Hogg, managing director of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union, said. “All other teams were ecstatic after their visits. Australia couldn’t compliment us enough.
Pakistan captain Waqar Younis and his Zimbabwe counterpart, Heath Streak, said England would rue their decision. “They paid for what they didn’t do,” Waqar said. “If they had come here they wouldn’t have seen this day. But that's the way they decided, and they suffered because of that.”
“You would sympathise with them, and I suppose they’ll be looking back at deciding not to come here,” said Streak. “It has cost them. Coming here and playing that fixture could have made things different for them.”
It was all about politics and death threats.
Hussain had pleaded with the British government, the ECB and the ICC to try to resolve the Zimbabwe issue by shifting the fixture to South Africa.
In the end, though, it was left to Hussain and his squad to make their decision, refusing to play because of security concerns. It took the players themselves around five days of meetings, during which time England did not train, to come to that decision.
There were rumours of a split within the squad and arguments with their own board, who then launched a series of ultimately unsuccessful appeals to move the game.
When the prevarication ended and England boycotted Zimbabwe, those four forfeited points meant they had to beat at least two of India, Pakistan and Australia to reach the Super Sixes.
They began with less-than-convincing wins over Holland and Namibia before England lifted themselves at Newlands and, helped by an advantageous toss, outplayed Pakistan.
James Anderson’s emergence over the winter has been England’s sole highlight and his four for 29 in Cape Town, while aided by the day-night conditions, suggested England had found a bowler capable of providing a long-term alternative to Darren Gough.
That night in Newlands, though, was soon followed by disappointment in Durban where England’s lack of top-class technique was evident as India beat them.