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Published: Wednesday, November 21, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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London: England captain Nasser Hussain said on Monday he understood Alec Stewart and Darren Gough's decision not to tour India this winter but insisted players could not pick and choose which parts of tours they wanted to go on.[an error occurred while processing this directive]Speaking in the aftermath of England's innings and 25 runs fifth Ashes Test defeat here at The Oval, a result that gave Australia the series 4-1, Hussain said, "Stewart and Gough have said they can't go to India. I'm very understanding of their situation, they've both given a lot to their country."What we do is very hard work. But ultimately it's their decision and their careers." Hussain added that the England management had done its best to accommodate players and had to draw a line somewhere. "The Board has been very flexible. We've offered Test and One-day contracts and said we understand if players want to miss the One-day series (in January and February in India and New Zealand)."But we can't go down the dangerous road of players choosing one bit of the tour and not another."On Sunday Stewart and Gough announced in their respective newspaper columns that they were going to miss the India tour that precedes England's visit to New Zealand.Hussain added that the decision of Gough and Stewart to miss the tour to India would not automatically mean the end of their Test careers. "I hope both play a large part in England's future."I'd love to have both these guys in my side. You saw how Gough (39 not out) showed a lot of heart and Alec has done the same throughout his career," England coach Duncan Fletcher added."I fully appreciated what they do. But if other guys perform well it might be difficult for them in the summer."However Australia captain Steve Waugh was more sympathetic insisting administrators had to look at the length of tours. "Families have a right to play a part in players' lives. It's very difficult to keep being away from your family. We've been winning but it's still hard work. This is something that needs to be looked at."But he added that India was no place for someone who was unsure of his desire to be on tour."India is going to be hard work," said Waugh whose side lost 2-1 in a Test series there before this tour. "You've got to pick players who really want to go there."

Copyright AFP 2001

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