November 27, 2001

Hussain: Either the Mohali Test is on or it isn't

In the last 10 days, there has been a massive furore in India over the scrap between the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the respective cricket boards of India and South Africa. Former Indian cricketers, television commentators and a section of the media seem to have lost their sense of balance. Dragging in issues of discrimination, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) even took the matter to parliament. The captain of England, Nasser Hussain, however, is unruffled by the turn of events. In a press conference held at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium, Jaipur, on the eve of the final tour match, Hussain, with characteristic restraint, explained his stance:

On what happened with Mike Denness, the boards and the ICC in South Africa:

We're going to play a Test in a week and are preparing for that. What's happening in South Africa is none of our business. Too much has been said on the issue in the last week or so and I don't want to add to this. All I can say is that cricket has suffered.

What would he do if India picked Virender Sehwag for the Mohali Test:

My decision is to pick my best side and get the best out of them. It is for other offices around the world to sort out this matter. We are going to turn up at Mohali and are looking forward to playing India, who are a great side.

What could be expected if the Test at Mohali is also declared unofficial:

We are a team that always plays by the ICC rules. ICC is the governing body and if they say the Test is on, we will play, whether it is in Kathmandu or Mohali. As of now, no one has said that the Test is unofficial. As far as we're concerned, either the Test is on or it isn't.

On how shocked he is by the events in South Africa:

I want us to go back to playing cricket. I, for one, can't believe that we are watching an India-South Africa match, with all the focus on off the field events.