July 28, 2003

Vaughan appointed England captain as Hussain resigns

Wisden CricInfo staff

An emotional Nasser Hussain faces the media

Michael Vaughan has been appointed as England's new Test captain after an emotional Nasser Hussain stood down at the end of the first Test at Edgbaston. Hussain keeps his place in the team for the second Test at Lord's starting on Thursday, with England's selectors naming an unchanged XI.

Hussain, 35, explained that he had "grown tired" after four years as captain. This announcement comes less than five months after he resigned the one-day captaincy following England's World Cup exit.

Hussain told the post-match news conference at Edgbaston that he felt the time was right to hand over to Vaughan. "I feel it is coming to a slight change in era," he said "I think Michael has shown in the last few months that he is a very capable leader and that's what I have been waiting for. There are some good lads playing under him and the last thing they want is a tired leader.

"It's not the sort of job where you just take the cash and plod on and stand at mid-off. I've always felt it's the sort of job where you have to give it everything. After last winter the stuff that went on off the field and on the field in Australia there were a lot of difficult times. I've tried to play these mental games but I found myself out there on Thursday not the kind of captain I wanted."

Hussain, who at times appeared close to tears, dismissed suggestions that he no longer had the full backing of his team-mates. "I never felt I had lost the team," he insisted. "I never walked out on the field without everyone's support. A lot of stuff has been written and spoken. I have always had 100% support. It has been nice to have had them [players] behind me.

"The captaincy always affects your game. Every England captain will say that. As far as batting goes I am happy to take my chances. You get runs, you get picked, if not you go off to county cricket. I've taken the decision, now it's up to others."

He insisted that he was keen to continue playing for England for as long as the selectors picked him. "I'll play and get some runs but if David Graveney rings and says I'm not needed I'll go off and do something else.

"I had a chat with the chairman of selectors this morning, I left the coach out of it. Basically I just want to go back to being a batsman, picking my bat up and batting if I'm good enough to stay in the Test side. I'd love to carry on playing, I'd love to play 100 Test matches. I just want to be treated like how I've treated my players in the last few years."

"I've had many highlights ... any moments where we have won and been together have been good. Any little plan that comes off cheers you up. I have been thinking about this since the end of the World Cup. No one then knew who the real successor was - now we have seen Vaughan."

Asked how he would like to be remembered, Hussain said it was as "someone who tried his hardest at all times, someone whose players played for him, not someone who did it just because there was a few quid involved."

Hussain admitted that the wear-and-tear of the job had taken its toll. "Four-and-a-bit years in the job can be a bit repetitive and it tests you mentally. I just felt I wasn't on the boil. I just felt it was time for someone else to do it."

He hinted that the split captaincy, with Vaughan leading the one-day side, had made his position harder. "It was very difficult for me - my style of captaincy had been about aggression. On my first day back it was very difficult for me to stand up there and do something different to Michael."

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