December 3, 2000

Bewildered Hussain tries to put Faislabad torment behind him

Staff and Agencies

Nasser Hussain admitted he is bewildered by the extraordinary bad luck that has prevented him from recovering his form and which, today, almost lost England the second Test match at Faislabad.

For the second time in two innings, the England captain received an umpiring decision that, on TV replay, proved incorrect. In his first innings, Steve Bucknor upheld Pakistan's appeal for leg before when the ball had clearly hit the bat and today Mian Aslam decided Hussain had edged off-spinner Arshad Khan behind to wicketkeeper Moin Khan when there was no contact with the bat.

The decision left England facing a crisis with the score on 57 for three and if Michael Atherton had not delivered his customary brickwall type of innings, finishing unbeaten on 65, England could well have slid to an unjust defeat instead of the second draw of the series.

"I looked at the TV replays after the first innings and everyone said well done for walking off, but when it happened again I just didn't know what to do," said Hussain after the match.

"You prepare yourself and feel you are just starting to hit the ball better and you go out there and get knocks like these - I was bewildered.

"People think you put your pads on and go out there and it's all forgotten, but it's not - there are mental things which happen to you when you're batting and I have to make sure I'm mentally strong enough to pick myself up for the next match because this Test has obviously knocked me a little bit.

"I was trying to make a contribution, but things are being taken out of my hands and I can only control the controllables, It would have really hurt if we'd lost this game because we didn't deserve to.

"People who play the game realise umpires have a difficult job to do and as long as they are consistent and they make honest mistakes we have no problem.

"I'll be happy when New Year's Eve comes along and I'm in another year because when things like this happen, you need to be able to find something like that so you can draw a line under all this."

"We lost a couple of wickets too many and it helped get your heart-rate going a little bit. That's why we have to make sure we're ahead of the game so we don't get caught out at the end of the game.

"When Michael Atherton is out there for you it always fills you with confidence and you know he's going to see it through for you."