England to give Hussain time to consider future

Published on May 27, 2004 12:46 PM IST

The England selectors are prepared to wait for Nasser Hussain's decision on whether to bring down the curtain on his international career.

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PTI | ByAgence France-Presse, London

The England selectors are prepared to wait for Nasser Hussain's decision on whether to bring down the curtain on his international career.

The former England skipper indicated he was contemplating retirement after his match-winning century on Monday as to seal a seven-wicket win over New Zealand at Lord's.

Hussain said he would consider his future and discuss the situation with England coach Duncan Fletcher and his father Joe before telling the selectors his decision.

But two days after his emotional speech at Lord's, the 36-year-old batsman is yet to reveal his plans to the selectors, who are waiting for his decision before they sit down and select the squad for the second Test at Headingley next week.

"We won't be talking as selectors until we've spoken to Nasser, but we'll give him as long as we can to make what is a very big decision for him," explained chairman of selectors David Graveney on Wednesday.

Since indicating he may retire after 96 Tests - four short of becoming only the eighth England player to make 100 appearances - notable cricketing figures have come out in support and advised Hussain to continue his career while he can still perform at the top level.

Former team-mate Alec Stewart has urged him to continue and Middlesex captain Andrew Strauss, whose outstanding Test debut at Lord's partly persuaded Hussain to consider his future, claimed "the England team would be worse without him."

Today it was the turn of Yorkshire seamer Matthew Hoggard, writing in his column on the BBC online website, to advise Hussain to continue an outstanding Test career which began in Jamaica 14 years ago.

"I know Nasser is considering his future, but I think he should play on," said Hoggard. "He came to the crease at Lord's in a pressure situation and to play the way he did was testament to his gritty character.

"He's been a great servant to English cricket. He's gutsy and exactly the person England need at number four.

"Nasser has the experience, he's playing well and scored a hundred in a winning side so I think he needs to be selected for Headingley and I think he will stay on and play 100 Tests."

Even selector Geoff Miller has advised Hussain not to make a knee-jerk decision, claiming: "From a personal point of view I still think Nasser has a lot to offer English cricket - it's a personal view but I wouldn't want to see him quit at the moment."

If Hussain decides to continue his career, the squad is likely to remain unchanged when it is announced on Sunday although Ashley Giles is not expected to figure in the starting line-up on a Headingley surface which traditionally favours seam bowling.

It would also present the selectors with a difficult dilemma if captain Michael Vaughan recovers from the knee injury which ruled him out at Lord's, leaving England attempting to fit seven batsmen into six places.

But if Hussain does announce an end to his illustrious career, England must hope it will not provide the fillip required to lift New Zealand and inspire their fightback in the series at Headingley next week.

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