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December 2, 2001
Nasser Hussain conducts himself well when he speaks to the press. The Essex and England skipper listens to questions patiently and answers them with care. Taking his time, the Madras-born leader of the England team looked forward to the forthcoming series against India. The hour of reckoning is here and Hussain's England know it. Excerpts:
On leading England in a Test against India in the country where he was born:
No different from playing anywhere else really. I'm very proud every time I play a Test match, every time I play for England. Obviously I have some special feelings playing here. Ever since we arrived, people have been very friendly to me. I've loved every minute of the tour so far, on and off the field. But this is not about me anymore. It is about England and the England cricket team and how we've got to be successful in India starting tomorrow.
On leading an inexperienced side:
This has got both its plusses and minuses. Tomorrow, I'll be handing out a few debut caps. It's a young side but one that is a pleasure to lead. We are playing, without doubt, the best side at home that you could play. India at home, with all their experience, on these kind of pitches, with crowds behind them are the best side, as Australia found out. Make no mistake about it. Whatever happened at South Africa is different. We have to be at our best to beat India.
On playing in the Indian subcontinent:
The grounds are all very different from each other. The basic thing however, in the subcontinent, is discipline. In England you can run up and land four balls in the right area and let the wickets do the rest. In these parts you have to be disciplined and bowl to a plan. You can't bowl both sides of the wicket.
On the fact that Mohali could be England's best chance:
I wouldn't like to look at Mohali as a place where we have a special chance. The Indians too have their own strengths on wickets like this. One thing I must say though is that the ground, the facilities and that kind of thing here puts a lot of other places to shame. The wickets, the outfield, the nets, the bowling machine, the net bowlers... everything has been perfect. We have no excuses going into tomorrow.
On the added responsibility on players to play the game in the right spirit:
There's responsibility on the players of both sides to play the game as it has been done for many a year now. When I was young, I watched people playing cricket really hard. I expect us to do exactly the same, playing hard but fair, in the next three weeks.
On whether the recent uncertainty has hampered preparations:
We've always presumed the series would go on undisturbed. We've had three very good warm-up matches. We've come up against some fine players this series already, there was Kambli at Mumbai. And we had a really good game against India `A' where the game could have gone either way on all three days. We've just been focusing on the cricket. Personally, I've believed all along that there us no way that the cricket would not go on in this part of the world.
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