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    May 27, 2004

    A Madras born captain (not Joe Harris of Canada) retired today. Nasser Hussain announced his retirement from test and first-class cricket, ending a career which began in 1989 and didn't really take off until 1996. Hussain will be forever grateful to Darrell Hair who failed to give a caught-behind off (I think) Srinath in the first test at Edgbaston. BBC Sport, The Guardian and CricInfo profile some of the best and worst of Nasser Hussain while Steven Lynch feels it was too soon.

    Here is the full text of his statement.

    Hussain's timing of his retirement is bound to raise eyebrows. Then again, quitting in the middle of a series (especially before the 2nd test) isn't anathema to him. He quit as captain after the first test against South Africa last year. I think he didn't really have any other option. At most he may have played the Leeds test if England had gone in for 3 specialist bowlers + Flintoff and brought back Vaughan instead of Giles. However the strategy would never work at Trent Bridge where the wicket is much more batsman friendly than Headingley. If it came to picking one of Strauss & Hussain, it is likely that the selectors may have gone in for Strauss keeping the longterm strategy in view. So I doubt if Hussain would have lasted until the West Indies series to achieve his goal of playing 100 tests

    For someone who never really was a great talent, it is a tribute to his cussed nature and strong will that he played 96 tests. Hussain's captaincy has been rated higher than it actually was. Watching England play under him was a total bore, especially when Ashley Giles wheeled away from over-the-wicket. The English media was quick to rate him as being the next Brearley. He was barely a Brearely and was really dreary at the best of times. I'vent seen Brearley captain, but if Hussain's captaincy was better, I'm happy to have not seen England play under Brearley.

    Hussain's greatest achievement was in getting England, which was at the bottom of the heap when he took over in 1999, to be a realistic contender among the teams who tried to compete with Australia. In my opinion, England are far from it and even if McGrath and Warne are absent, they'll find it tough to beat Australia in next year's Ashes.

    He may have worn his heart on his sleeve, but some of Hussain's dramatics clearly failed to cut ice with cricket watchers and the media. He had an on-field go at Murali late last year in Sri Lanka, allegedly calling him a *%#!ing chucker. His three-fingered salute to the press box at Lord's after his century in the 2002 NatWest Series final was meant to prove to his doubters that he was fit enough to bat at #3 in onedayers. For all his defiance, he only played 3 more innings at that position in the next 16 games before he retired from one-dayers.

    Nasser's father Jawad Hussain played one Ranji Trophy game for Tamil Nadu.
    Thus spake Jagadish @ 6:47 PM |
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