August 10, 2000

Hussain tight-lipped following another failure

Staff and agencies

England captain Nasser Hussain was tight-lipped after another failure with bat yesterday, this time for Essex in their Division One County Championship game against Worcestershire.

Hussain is desperate for runs after a string of failures for the England team this season in matches against Zimbabwe and the West Indies. A broken thumb suffered in June has not helped in his search for form.

Yesterday, on a good batting track at Chester Road, Kidderminster, Hussain scored just 10 from 25 deliveries before becoming the victim of 19 year-old Kabir Ali.

Hussain was caught by wicketkeeper Steve Rhodes after pushing forward to an outswinger from the Worcestershire paceman and getting an outside edge. He momentarily stood his ground before umpire John Steele raised his finger. Hussain had added just one run to his overnight score.

Hussain has scored just 74 runs in six first-class innings for Essex this season, and another 70 in six completed Test innings for England.

And if that wasn't enough, Hussain then saw teammate, Australian Stuart Law, compile a superb hundred in easy batting conditions.

Hussain drew a veil of silence after his latest failure and had no comment when asked to explain his current dilemma.

Geoff Arnold, Essex bowling coach and former England paceman, who has been working with Hussain to try and correct any faults in his game, said: "If Nasser keeps going then it is going to come right for him.

"All batsmen go through this. I would say it's a confidence thing with Nasser not getting any runs at the moment. If he keeps working he's too good a player for it not to come right.

"Today he played forward down the line and the ball just seamed a bit and he nicked it. When it's your day you miss them.

"Batting, like bowling, is about being in rhythm. Nasser had a month out injured and it's when you get into that rhythm that you start scoring runs.

"Everybody gets down a bit when things don't go well, but technically he is better now than when I first knew him when working at England level. You can see a big difference now to what he used to be like."

England chairman of selectors David Graveney appeared unconcerned when he arrived at the ground mid-afternoon, long after Hussain's dismissal, to discuss selection matters with his Test captain.

Graveney said: "Nasser would like to get runs but I am no more or less concerned about his form than he is.

"He said he is not in the best of form and I hope he gets a second opportunity at Kidderminster on a good wicket, but it is not a huge issue for me. It only becomes an issue for the critics.

"Duncan Fletcher (the England coach) will be here on Friday and if Nasser is batting then fine. But the main thing is to have a chat about his views on the last Test match and the one coming up at Headingley.''

Graveney added: "Everyone has to accept that these guys now play virtually 12 months of the year and there will be a time when it doesn't go their way.

"But Nasser Hussain is a quality player. He was a quality player yesterday and he will be a quality player tomorrow."