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Nasser Hussain, in one of the wimpiest decisions taken in recent times, resigned as England's Test captain yesterday following the drawn first Test against South Africa. This rivals Kim Hughes' famous teary resignation in 1984/85 after yet another battering at the hands of the West Indian juggernaut.
Hussain claims that he had been thinking about this for a long while now, ever since the doomed Ashes tour Down Under last year and the World Cup fiasco where the Zimbabwe boycott haunted England and their continued inability to perform in games that mattered (v Australia and India). Hussain went on to say that at that point in time his successor wasn't obvious but now that Vaughan was obviously the heir, it was time to go.
Hussain definitely knew that Vaughan was the natural successor as Test captain, especially after England won two one-day series under Vaughan a month or so ago. Yet, if he chose to continue as Test captain, in his own words, to see if he still liked doing the job, then it is selfishness of the highest order. The seeds of doubt were already well entrenched in his mind. If that was the case, the best thing he could have done was to put his team higher than self and resign even before the Tests against South Africa started. It was only after Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs took his "attack" to the cleaners that he realised he didn't like being in charge.
To back up his claim, he gave a flimsy reason that he felt that the team was not able to respond to his style of captaincy after they had got used to Vaughan's style in the one-dayers. That argument doesn't really hold too much water because aside from him, there were other key players in the current Test side who didn't play under Vaughan's captaincy, Stewart and Butcher, as well as Harmison. Besides Vaughan had only been captain for less than 10 games. Surely if all it takes for the team to disown Hussain's four year old work ethics, theories, tactics etc. is playing a dozen games under a different captain, then perhaps Hussain's imprint on the team isn't as great as it is made out to be.
There is no doubt that England did reasonably well under Hussain. However, his captaincy can really be divided into three phases. When he took over, England lost to New Zealand (home) and South Africa (away). Then they started winning, West Indies (home), Pakistan & Sri Lanka (away). The rot then stepped in, in the guise of the invincible Aussies. Losses to Australia (home), India (away), draws v New Zealand (away) & India (home) were capped by the fiasco last year in Australia. So really speaking for the last 4-5 series, England have been quite pathetic under Hussain. Surely any side that draws a Test series against a touring Indian side has to be termed pathetic, and that too from a position of 1-0 up and nearly winning the 2nd Test at Trent Bridge.
I think Nasser's contributions as England captain are over exaggerated. He wasn't, isn't and never will be the next Mike Brearley. The press shouldn't have given him that tag because that made him try to act smarter than what he really was. I'm also surprised no-one in the English press has bothered to raise the issue of the fact that Hussain has quit when there were a handful of days to go before the second Test, leaving Vaughan with absolutely no time to get himself prepared for the job. Captaining one-day sides is totally different from captaining in a Test. Nasser deserves to be castigated for this selfish act of his.
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