Fletcher - 'We will all miss him'
Michael Vaughan and Duncan Fletcher led the tributes to Nasser Hussain, who today announced his retirement from the game.
Vaughan, the England captain, said: "His focus, preparation and the passion he showed in wearing an England shirt are qualities that I really admire."
And Fletcher, the England coach, who formed a close and successful working relationship with Hussain with the national team, was full of praise. "I know how deeply he cares about English cricket," he said. "In taking this decision I hope people realise that he has tried to do what is best for the England team rather than the individual. His desire and will to win are an object lesson to any cricketer out there who aspires to play for England, and I know that we will all miss him in the changing-rooms."
Craig White, the former England allrounder, was quick to recognise what Hussain did for his international career. "I owe a lot to Nasser for believing in me and giving me a chance to prove myself," he told BBC Sport. "He was the main reason behind my resurgence in 2000 so that's something I have to thank Nasser for. I learnt a lot from him cricket-wise too. He only had one way to play his cricket and that was as hard as he could - that's why he had a great career."
Andrew Strauss, one of the up-and-coming players that Hussain cited, warned that even though it has all but assured his place in the side for the next Test at Headingley, England would be weaker without Hussain in the short term. "I have mixed feelings really. It was a fairytale finish for him - to score a hundred to win the game for England was a fantastic way for him to bow out, and I'm sure when he's older and greyer he'll have great memories of the way he finished his Test career," said Strauss. "The other side of the coin is that the England side will be worse without him in it for a while. Nasser was a fantastic fighter and when things got tricky, he'd always come through. Now it's up to someone to take that on board and do his job."
It's not just England who will be without him, but his county Essex as well: he made his debut for them back in 1987. "Nasser has made an enormous contribution to Essex County Cricket Club and English cricket since making his debut," said David East, their chief executive. "He follows in a line of distinguished England captains who have played for Essex in recent times. Nasser was a player of immense character and determination, which was clearly demonstrated by his innings at Lord's this week to win the first Test against New Zealand. This will now be the final innings by which he will be remembered, and it was also fitting that he made a century in his last match for Essex."