Fletcher urges Hussain to stay on as England captain
Published: Wednesday, February 19, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
'Hussain stood up for us, protected us at the same time'
Port Elizabeth: Coach Duncan Fletcher added his voice on Tuesday to growing calls for Nasser Hussain to stay on as England captain after the World Cup. Following the months of agonising that eventually led England to boycott what should have been their World Cup opener against Zimbabwe, Hussain said he felt so let down by administrators that he was thinking of quitting the captaincy. But Fletcher, speaking ahead of England's Group 'A' match against Namibia at St George's Park on Wednesday, said he hoped the batsman as the team's skipper. "We would like Nasser to carry on after the World Cup. He's done well for us," Fletcher told SAPA news agency. But the England coach indicated that Hussain's comments had been ill-timed. "At the moment we have got to go out and beat Namibia and then go on from there. I think it's crazy to start bringing other things in. Why should we get into those difficulties? It's going to be difficult enough getting into the Super Sixes. "It's not the kind of thing I want to talk about in the middle of a World Cup. It's the kind of issue that shouldn't be there. You address this kind of thing once the World Cup is finished." Fletcher suggested that Hussain's comments were a reaction to England's prolonged wrangling over the Zimbabwe issue and that the more cricket he played, the less inclined he would be to quit the captaincy. "I'm sure Nasser was frustrated and as the World Cup progresses he'll perhaps think again. I don't know. It's something I haven't discussed with him and I don't want to right now. The timing of this issue is important. "So let's leave it at that." Earlier on Tuesday, England all-rounder Paul Collingwood also called for Hussain to carry on as captain. "I certainly hope he does not step down. He's a strong man and he knows his right from wrong." England, which beat The Netherlands by six wickets in East London on Sunday, is expected to be equally comfortable victors against Namibia. But in order to reach the Super Sixes it may have to beat all three Group 'A' giants, Pakistan, India and world champions Australia.