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Hussain predicts rough times ahead

Nasser Hussain believes England's job will be tougher this year because their bowling attack is inexperienced.

india Updated: Nov 24, 2003 21:42 IST
Reuters
Reuters
PTI

Nasser Hussain, who led England to a remarkable Test series triumph against Sri Lanka in 2001, believes England's job will be tougher this year because their bowling attack is inexperienced.

England fought back from an innings defeat in the opening Test two years ago and clinched the series 2-1, providing Hussain with one of his finest hours as captain.

England, now led by Michael Vaughan, are under pressure following a batting collapse in Dambulla that handed the home team a rain-hit one-day series and an early psychological advantage.

With monsoon rains also threatening to derail England's only practice match before the first Test, the tourists are likely to travel to Galle under-prepared for the first Test, starting next week.

"This time we face an even bigger task," Hussain told reporters at the team's hotel in Colombo.

"In 2001 we had a completely different bowling attack and a lot of experience with the likes of (Darren) Gough, (Andrew) Caddick and (Craig) White, all of whom could change their gameplans in a session" he said.

"This time we have a young side who will have to learn on their feet."

Hussain, 34, has considerable past experience of the subcontinent and will offer advice when asked but otherwise allow Vaughan to tread his own path.

"Michael (Vaughan) is fully in charge and he's his own man now," he said.

"I offered him a couple of things in Bangladesh, but it is his show and the last thing he needs is me to constantly be saying 'last time we did this.'"

Hussain has rejoined the squad after a short break at home.

The biggest challenge facing England's batsmen is Muttiah Muralitharan, arguably the world's greatest off spinner.

"Nothing can simulate facing the off spin and preparation is more a mental thing - you visualise what shots you can and can't play.

Hussain hopes England's rugby World Cup triumph will provide inspiration.

"Most of us would do anything to have that feeling of going home as heroes.

"It was a lesson for all of us - with a plan in place, a great coach and superstar, a good side can be a great one.

"We are doing all right in cricket, being third in the tables, but it's a change of era and we have lost a lot of players.

"We need a superstar, a genius, particularly in the bowling department."

England face a Board President's XI in a three-day warm-up on Wednesday before the first Test.