'NZ loss was catalyst for improvement'

Updated on May 19, 2004 10:10 PM IST

England's 1999 Test series loss to New Zealand had been the catalyst for the reinvigoration of the national side, Nasser Hussain said.

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PTI | ByQuentin Webb (Reuters), London

England's 1999 Test series loss to New Zealand had been the catalyst for the reinvigoration of the national side, former captain Nasser Hussain said on Tuesday.

New Zealand, who won the series 2-1, wrapping it up with an 83-run victory at the Oval, will meet England in the first test of their three-match series at Lord's starting on Thursday.

"What it did was take us to our lowest point in the last decade, which was what we needed. It took us right down to rock bottom," said Hussain of the 1999 series.

"It gave us a starting to point to start climbing back, which we first did under me and now we're continuing under (Michael) Vaughan."

Hussain said while the New Zealanders had won the series in 1999 and drew the 2002 series in New Zealand, he felt England had them on the back foot most of the time.

"In our last two series against them we've had serious chances of winning series that we messed up," Hussain said.

"We're two very evenly matched sides, with a balance of youth and experience, and hopefully if Vaughan's fit, two very good captains.

"We're coming from a high in the West Indies which we need to maintain, so if we can get a good start and keep that ball rolling that will help us."

Hussain said he had not thought about assuming the captaincy if Vaughan, who injured himself in a freak accident on Monday, was not fit.

"Any side needs their captain. It is disruptive to have anyone else come in," added the 36-year-old, who will play his 96th test match this week though he would not be drawn on how long he would continue playing international cricket.

"I haven't made any decisions on my future," he said.

"I'm just going to play and, while I'm playing well, try to carry on."

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