| Nasser Hussain
London: England captain Nasser Hussain hit back at former skipper Mike Gatting who last week said the Essex batsman was putting personal ambition ahead of the interests of the national side.
Hussain Saturday insisted he was still the right man to lead the Test side even though Gatting said new one-day captain Michael Vaughan ought to be in charge of both teams.
But Hussain, 35, speaking ahead of England’s first Test against Zimbabwe at Lord’s, said: “I believe England will be a better side on Thursday week (May 22) because I’m leading them at Lord’s — and no one else”.
“If that sounds selfish or big-headed so be it”.
“It is best for me to carry on until there is someone who can do a better job than me,” Hussain said in The Sunday Mirror.
“I’ve told the selectors — and this is not selfish — that if they believe Michael Vaughan or anyone else will do a better job or I’m not doing a particularly good job, I’ll step aside.
“But it is a huge gamble to say to someone like Michael, who is batting the way he is. ‘Go on son, you do everything. You go and do what Nasser has been doing for the last three or four years.’ No, it is best for me to carry on until there is someone who can do a better job than me.”
Gatting, the last England captain to lead the\ team to a Test series win against Australia back in 1986-87, said Hussain’s pursuit of 100 Test caps and desire to lead England to more Test wins than anyone else was “ self-centred”.
But Hussain insisted there was nothing wrong about goal- setting. “I’m not apologising for having ambitions. That’s part of being a professional sportsman, captain or not. “It’s the English mentality. When someone states ‘I’m ambitious’, he gets knocked. Here, everyone loves a loser.
“Everyone loved me when I got back from Australia and South Africa last winter. ‘Poor old Nasser, having to try to deal with the Aussies and the Zimbabwe issue.’”
Hussain also said he was open to any change in the leadership.
“If Michael takes over in the future I would be happy to carry on playing Test cricket under him — but only if I am scoring runs and deserve my place.
“Right now I think the two-captaincy thing will work as well for England as it does for Australia. I have known Michael a long time. He is a close friend and I hope he is a very successful one-day skipper. He has a good character.
“He has a relaxed attitude but is also a typical Yorkshire opening bat with that fighting mentality.
“When he speaks in the dressing room people listen. He is also tough. Perhaps that’s why he got the nod ahead of Marcus Trescothick. When you’re captain you need to make people a little scared of you so that they do as you ask,” Hussain said.