Hussain announces retirement from all cricket
Nasser Hussain announced his retirement from all cricket at Lord's at lunchtime today. In an emotional press conference, Hussain confirmed what all were expecting, that he is to call it a day. He revealed that he decided the time had come on Sunday, during the Lord's Test, and that he wanted to go out on a high and not stand in the way of younger players coming through.
Hussain opened up by thanking the assembled media for coming, and followed that by confirming his retirement from all forms of the game. "It's a decision I've not taken lightly, I've been thinking about it for a number of months." He added, "I had made my mind up on Sunday night, it was the right time to go."
He continued, "Age was catching up with me in my body and my mind, and the fire in my stomach was deteriorating. I was willing to fight that and the opposition, but not to fight against youth, in the form of Andrew Strauss and others like [Robert] Key, [Ian] Bell, [Ian] Ward and [Scott] Newman. They warrant consideration for selection."
On his last emotional and memorable day as a Test player, he said: "Monday was an incredible day, and it made my thoughts clearer. I'm proud to have come to my decision and be appreciated for all my efforts from when I was a young boy - a lot of good things have happened to me. To hit the winning runs through the covers with my favourite shot, to be batting with my close friend Graham Thorpe at the end, and to walk through the Long Room were great memories."
He also said that his decision could be called a selfish one. "Some of the criticism was close to the truth. Younger players should be pushing for a place. In some ways you could call it a selfish decision. I don't like to go in the middle of a series, but I fear things will get messy in the future. At the moment, I feel clear and clean cut - I'm a happy person, and those around me are happy."
Hussain revealed he had spent the last couple of days talking to people close to him before finally making the decision to call it a day. "They said I deserved to go out on a high, and that I deserved to be happy. My decision was a gut feeling. I wanted to go on my terms, and I don't want to hold up any young player, just because I'm a former England captain.
"I was looking for some reward for my hard work, and Monday gave me that. I'm emotional because it's a big day in my life to give up the game of cricket, but it's not because I am sad."
He added, "I spoke to Duncan Fletcher. He was adamant that I should go out in the way I deserved. He did not say 'No Nasser I want you to stay,' none of the selectors did that, nor did the captain." He ended by calling Fletcher "an absolutely great man", and by thanking his father, Joe. He said, "I hope he's proud of me."
Regarding his future, it was later revealed that Hussain has joined Sky Sports as a commentator, but he insisted he would be taking a few weeks off and go away for a few rounds of golf before he starts his new life in the media.
Hussain, 36, played 96 Tests for England, scoring 5764 runs at an average of 37.18. He also appeared in 88 one-day internationals. He was captain in 45 Tests between 1999 and 2003.