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Published: Tuesday, December 18, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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London: Nasser Hussain, the Indian-born captain of the England cricket team, will be awarded an OBE (Officer of the Order of British Empire) in the Queen's New Year's honours in recognition of his role in the revival of England's cricket fortunes in the past two years.[an error occurred while processing this directive]Chennai-born, 33-year-old, Hussain is widely regarded as the best strategist to captain England since Mike Brearley, who stepped down from the post 20 years ago."It's a well-deserved reward for Nasser. Tactically, Nasser is very strong, but he is also passionate about leading his country. He is proud to stride out in front of his men, and he has taken that passion and given it to the other players. All in all he has created a fantastic team spirit. It's a worthy and just award," expressing his delight, chairman of England selectors David Graveney said."He's become one of the outstanding England captains. Whatever strides we have made are down to the partnership between Nasser and Duncan (Fletcher, the team coach)." Hussain's OBE comes in the wake of accusations in some quarters that he ruined cricket with his negative tactics against India's batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar in the recent Test series in India. Hussain's colleagues and friends welcomed the news of the honour on Sunday. Dickie Bird, 68, former Test umpire whose career spanned nearly 50 years, said "Nasser's done a wonderful job as England captain."He knows the game and he's a real winner. The players are all behind him 100 per cent. He is an inspirational leader and all the players are determined to give their best for him. Nasser has the talent to really read a game and to read weaknesses in rival teams," the veteran umpire said.Although Hussain was born in Chennai and lived in India until he was five, he is patriotic about his adopted country.Earlier this year, he publicly expressed disappointment at the number of British Asians who supported India and Pakistan. Hussain, who plays county cricket for Essex, has played in 66 Tests for England since making his debut against the West Indies in 1990. His highest Test score is 207 - against Australia at Edgbaston in 1997. He has scored 3,726 Test runs, including nine centuries and 19 fifties, averaging 35.15. Hussain was appointed England captain in June 1999.Despite recent series defeats to India and Australia, his captaincy has seen a general improvement in the team's fortunes and helped bring about four consecutive Test series wins - home wins against the West Indies (the first since 1969) and Zimbabwe were followed by away victories in Pakistan (the first there since 1962) and Sri Lanka. PTI

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