London: England coach Duncan Fletcher said Saturday he wanted Nasser Hussain to stay on as captain beyond the 2003 World Cup.
Hussain has previously hinted that he might stand down following next year's tournament in South Africa. But Fletcher, whose own England contract expires after the World Cup in September 2003, said, "I would be keen to persuade Nasser to carry on. "He's done a great job and I enjoy working with him and we pair off well because we have different ways of working." Fletcher, speaking at Old Trafford ahead of Sunday's triangular series match there against Sri Lanka on Sunday, added, "He (Hussain) has a great cricket brain on him.
"I still think it's too early for the guys we have waiting to do his job - players like Michael Vaughan and Marcus Trescothick still have to develop their game. "They are very good players even now, but I just don't think people appreciate what captaincy is all about and how big a strain it can be." Hussain and Fletcher came together as a duo in 1999. Under their leadership England won four successive Test series against Zimbabwe, West Indies, Pakistan and Sri Lanka two years ago and have only lost three of its last 10 Test campaigns.
England's One-day form has also shown signs of improvement. A record of 12 wins in its last 20 matches is far from outstanding but compares favourably with 11 straight defeats last year. "It's all very well leading the side if you're winning, but when you're struggling with a developing team it is a very difficult job," Fletcher admitted. "I don't know if Nasser can be persuaded to carry on because he makes his own mind up and I don't think people appreciate just how much stress there is as captain or coach of England," former Zimbabwe skipper Fletcher admitted. "It's an incredibly difficult job and you don't get a break.
In most jobs you can tidy your desk at the end of the day and forget about it all, but that doesn't seem to happen in cricket." But Fletcher admitted that a good Ashes series in Australia or success in the World Cup that follows soon afterwards could see Hussain staying on as England captain. "You don't know how he's going to feel in six months' time after the World Cup," he explained. "He could be totally drained or if England are successful, he may want to carry on." And that is equally true of Fletcher himself, who said he was pleased at England's development thus far.
"I've enjoyed seeing the progress being made," he said. "There's nothing more fulfilling than when you've put in some hard work and you see people starting to reap the rewards of that. "It's a pleasure working with this side, there's a good team spirit and it's working well and it would be an honour if they did approach me to extend my contract."