Hussain steps down as skipper

NASSER Hussain resigned as England's Test captain tonight after coming to the harsh conclusion that his style of leadership was a thing of the past.Hussain who handed over the Essex captaincy to Ronnie Irani in 2000 to concentrate on England duties, announced he would be stepping down as captain after 45 Tests having convinced himself he was no longer motivating his side during the opening Test against South Africa at Edgbaston, which ended in a draw today.

NASSER Hussain resigned as England's Test captain tonight after coming to the harsh conclusion that his style of leadership was a thing of the past.

Hussain who handed over the Essex captaincy to Ronnie Irani in 2000 to concentrate on England duties, announced he would be stepping down as captain after 45 Tests having convinced himself he was no longer motivating his side during the opening Test against South Africa at Edgbaston, which ended in a draw today.

Hussain believed his style was becoming stale and dated over the last few days in comparison with Michael Vaughan's fresh approach as skipper during the recent one-day tournament.

It prompted his surprise phone call to chairman of selectors David Graveney this morning, who he informed of his plans, and instead of travelling to Lord's for Thursday's second Test as captain he will return as a player under Vaughan's captaincy.


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"It's been very difficult for me because my style of captaincy has been all about aggression and I believe you have to give them a kick up the backside now and again," said Hussain.

"After seeing a young side enjoy themselves so much and have a different style of captaincy, it was very difficult for me on my first day back out there to be something completely different even though that was very natural to me - things had moved on a little bit and they have someone who can take them on now.'

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Hussain had been considering giving up the captaincy since announcing his retirement from one-day internationals following England's exit from the World Cup in March, but had been waiting for a suitable successor.

Vaughan stepped up to the mark during the one-day tournament and Hussain is now backing the Yorkshire batsman to take his team on.

"I just feel it's coming to a slight change of era in the England cricket team especially with Alec (Stewart) going at the end of the summer and I think Michael Vaughan has shown in the last few months that he's a very capable leader,' he said.

"That's really what I've been waiting for - someone to hold their hand up and I think Vaughan has shown that. There are some young lads in there that will play under him and the last thing they want is a tired leader.

"I've always said that it's a very important job and it's not a job you just carry on doing, take the cash and plod along and stand at mid-off. It's a job you have to give 100% to and give it absolutely everything. It's time for a change.

"I don't see any reason why England can't be successful under Michael. He led the team with great enthusiasm during the one-dayers and from what I saw from a distance he had great energy and he had everything that's needed to be a successful captain and in the coach they have a man that knows everything about the game.'

Hussain departs with some notable successes under his belt, including leading England to their first success over West Indies in 31 years and becoming the only touring captain to ever win a Test in Karachi.

He finishes with 17 victories from 45 Tests with the only blight on his record, as it has been on many predecessors, has been his inability to fashion a side capable of challenging Australia.

That challenge has now been passed onto Vaughan while Hussain will battle for a place in England's Test plans, although he has been named in an unchanged team for Lord's.

"The captaincy always affects your game and I think every England captain would say that, but as far as the batting goes I'm quite happy to take my chances like I've asked my team to do for the last four years,' he said.

"If you get runs you get picked and if not you go off to county cricket. I've made too many decisions over the last four years and it's now up to other people now to make the decisions.

"I will carry on playing and if I get a call from the selectors saying I'm no longer needed then I'll go off and do something else.'

He is already assured of the support of successor Vaughan, who added: "Like everybody else in the dressing room I was surprise by Nasser's decision to resign.

"He's been a hugely inspirational captain and no one cares more about the England team than him.

"I've not expected the Test captaincy to come my way this summer, but I feel ready for the challenge and will be more than happy to have him in the dressing room alongside me as a senior player.'

Chairman of selectors David Graveney added: "Nasser's been an outstanding leader of England and it's been a privilege of mine to work with him as it has been for all the selectors.

"He's always conducted himself in the wider interests of the English team as a result of that he is taking this decision.'

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