London: England captain Nasser Hussain said again on Tuesday that he would not make a decision about his international future until after the winter Ashes tour of Australia and the subsequent World Cup in South Africa.
Hussain gave a hint that he might step down after the World Cup earlier in the year. And while he waited for the rain to cease at The Oval and allow England's triangular One-day series match against India to get underway, Hussain insisted that England's recent improved form had not changed his mind. "I looked at the itinerary a year ago and I said I didn't want to opt out of any of it, I wanted to do everything up to the World Cup and I would look at it again then," he explained. "I'm really enjoying the job, I enjoyed the tours to India and New Zealand and we have played some really good cricket over the last few years.
The only really dreadful series we've had unfortunately was against Australia last summer. "We've played some decent cricket but not against the side we wanted to impress the most and Australia went home thinking it was the same old England." Hussain, 34, said a key factor in whether he would carry on would be the extent to which he felt he was making a major difference to the side. "I'm really enjoying working with the coach and seeing the young players come in and do well," Essex batsman Hussain admitted. "A lot will depend if I am contributing to the side and if the side is better for having me in it, and that will be the acid Test this winter, how we do in the Ashes and the World Cup. "I would like to go to Australia and still be in the Ashes after three Tests. I want to go to Melbourne for the Boxing Day Test and look Australia in the eye and say 'come on then.' "In my time we've always won a Test after the series is over, winning one at the Oval or in Melbourne and we've never ever been close to winning the series." Last week England coach Duncan Fletcher said he wanted Hussain to carry on as captain, a post he has held since succeeding Alec Stewart in 1999.
Fletcher said potential skippers Marcus Trescothick and Michael Vaughan were not yet ready for the job. "I would be keen to persuade Nasser to carry on," said Fletcher. "He's done a great job, I enjoy working with him and we pair off well because we have different ways of working," the former Zimbabwe captain added. "He has a great cricket brain on him and 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."