Cape Town: England coach Duncan Fletcher delivered a hammer blow to Marcus Trescothick's ambitions of succeeding Nasser Hussain as captain on Thursday by declaring the opening batsman is not ready for the responsibility. The news will come as a severe shock to Trescothick as he prepares to face the Pakistan pace battalion of Waqar Younis, Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar in a highly- charged make-or-break World Cup clash under the Newlands lights on Saturday.
When Hussain was ruled out of Wednesday's match against Namibia, the captain's role was passed to Alec Stewart and the veteran Surrey man is destined to keep the job should Hussain not recover from his stiff neck in time for Saturday. "We thought that if Nasser's neck was serious then he had a good chance of missing the Pakistan game," said Fletcher. "We realised then that although we've been bringing Marcus along and giving him opportunities here and there, I don't think he's got enough experience to captain a side in an important competition like this.
"We thought we needed an experienced captain against Pakistan for a huge game like that in front of a huge crowd. Marcus also needs to work on his batting a little bit because he hasn't performed as well as he can," Fletcher told the BBC. Trescothick, seen as a crucial part of England's campaign here, made 58 against the Namibians after scoring just 12 in the opening win against the Netherlands. Also praying on Trescothick's mind will be the fact that the last time he came up against Pakistan three years ago, he was bowled for nought off the first ball from Waqar.
Meanwhile, Fletcher admitted that the unconvincing 55-run win over Namibia will serve as a wake-up call for the team as it prepare to face its most searching examination of its World Cup credentials against Pakistan. "People said it was an advantage easing into this competition, but there is always a flip-side," said Fletcher. "It was easier at certain times to get the guys in the right frame of mind after what has happened over the last couple of weeks.
"But then one must look at the other side of it where we've played four relatively weak sides, and that brings the standard of our play down, so the game against Namibia was probably a good wake-up call." Copyright AFP 2001