| Nasser Hussain during a press meet at Lord’s on Thursday. (Reuters)
London: Former England captain Nasser Hussain announced on Thursday that he was retiring from all forms of cricket, three days after the 36-year-old scored an unbeaten 103 to steer England to a seven-wicket win in the first Test against New Zealand at Lord’s.
He hit 14 centuries and 33 half-centuries in 96 Tests.
Hussain, who plays for Essex, had been thinking over his future since scoring his match-winning century at Lord’s.
The squad for next week’s second Test is due to be named on Sunday. With England skipper Michael Vaughan due to return for the Headingley Test, Hussain said he did not want to hold up anyone else.
“Age has been catching up on me — the body, the mind, the fire in the stomach and the eyes have started to deteriorate,” the 36-year-old told a news conference on Thursday.
Hussain, born in India, was just four appearances short of his 100th Test cap but with Andrew Strauss making 112 and 83 in his debut appearance at Lord’s, he felt it was time to call it a day.
Hussain, who replaced wicket-keeper Alec Stewart as captain after England’s first round World Cup exit on home soil in 1999, led England in 45 Tests, winning 17, losing 15 and drawing 13, before giving way to Michael Vaughan last July.
He had handed over the one-day captaincy to Vaughan after the 2003 World Cup in South Africa last March.
But he showed there was a lot of fight left in him with a couple of valuable half-centuries in England’s 3-0 Test series victory in the West Indies which finished in April, their first triumph on Caribbean soil for 36 years.
Now he recognises he cannot stand in the way of England’s newcomers.
One of the rising talents is 27-year-old Strauss whom Hussain ran-out on 83 on Monday before making amends with his match-winning century.
Strauss, the Middlesex skipper playing on his home ground, had been in sight of becoming only the third player in Test history to make hundreds in both innings of his debut match at Lord’s after his first innings 112.
But Hussain added: “It wasn’t just Andrew Strauss.”
“It has been a major decision for me and not one I have taken lightly. It has been a gradual thing over months. I have been thinking about it for a while.
“By Sunday I had decided it was time to go. I was willing to fight against opposition and the people writing me off, which I have always done. But I was not prepared to fight against youth — not my youth but youth in the form of Andrew Strauss who put his hand up and decided to get a lot of runs.
“There are a few other players too like (Rob) Key, (Ian) Bell, (Ian) Ward, (Scott) Newman — a few are getting runs and warrant consideration.
“By Sunday I decided my time was up. I knew it would either be called up by the selectors or myself.
“Monday was an incredible day. Monday clarified my thoughts. A lot of good things happened to me and I just think it was a great day for me… To do it here, to hit the final shot for four through the covers, my favourite shot, and to have Graham Thorpe, a huge friend of mine, to finish on a high.”
“It’s slightly selfish. I don’t like going in the middle of a series but if I’d carried on I believe things would have got messy. At the moment things are clean and clear-cut.”
“I don’t want to hold up any young player, I don’t want to be selected just because I’m approaching 100 Tests or because I’m an ex-England captain.
“I’m also a very proud man and I don’t want someone to come up to me and say, “Sorry you’re not good enough for an England shirt anymore.”