English cricket May 11, 2004

Botham: give Hussain the chop

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Ian Botham: says it's time for someone else to have a go in England's middle order © Getty Images

Ian Botham, the former England allrounder and now TV commentator, has called for Nasser Hussain to be axed from international cricket to let the younger players come through.

Talking on BBC Five Live, Botham said, "It's easier for someone to settle down with [Graham] Thorpe and [Mark] Butcher than if you lose three senior players simultaneously." He continued, "If Thorpe, Butcher and Hussain choose to leave suddenly, then it's very difficult for youngsters to come in. We should adopt the Australians' approach and say, 'Thanks a lot Nas, but now we've got to go forward'."

Hussain, 36, captained England in 45 Test matches between 1999 and 2003, and, along with Duncan Fletcher, was widely regarded as moving the side in the right direction.

Having played 95 Tests, he has made it no secret he wants to make the 100 mark, and on England's recent tour of the West Indies, he helped his side to a 3-0 win by scoring 197 runs at an average of 32.83. However Botham, never shy to air his views, believes the selectors should start looking ahead to the 2005 Ashes series, and that means no more Nasser.

"Our target has to be the Australians and I don't see Nasser playing a part against the Australians," Botham added. "Despite everything he's done for us, I think it's time now for a [Andrew] Strauss, a [Paul] Collingwood or whoever to come in to that middle order."