Press lauds Hussain's tough captaincy after shock walk out

A stunned British press was full of praise for Nasser Hussain's tough tenure as captain of England's Test cricket team the day after he dramatically stepped down in favour of opening batsman Michael Vaughan.

Michael Vaughan has taken over the reins from Nasser Hussain. — Pic. REUTERS-

"England reel as Hussain quits captaincy," The Independent newspaper said, expressing astonishment at his "wholly unexpected" resignation.

The Times devoted a front page article to the shock departure: "After the sweat, the tears as Hussain calls it a Day."

While some newspapers appeared more dumbfounded than others by the news, all united to pay tribute to the man many fans thank for lifting English cricket out of the doldrums.

"England's best cricket captain for more than a quarter of a century has resigned," The Times said, describing Hussain as the man who "broke the national cricketing culture of defeatism."

Even legendary all-rounder Ian Botham — a former England captain who had been critical of certain aspects of Hussain's leadership before his resignation — was full of praise.

"He has instilled a passion and fire into the belly of English cricket and groomed a team which I believe are the second best in the world," Botham said, writing in The Daily Mirror tabloid.

"Nasser can now give himself a pat on the back and reflect on a job well done," Botham said.

Cricket commentator Mike Selvey agreed in The Gaurdian that England had come a long way under Hussain's tough stewardship.

"Three games into his reign, Hussain stood on the balcony of The Oval and was booed, his side branded the worst in the world. But he has since striven endlessly to elevate the status of the side," Selvey said.

"He leaves it significantly better," Selvey said, pointing to series wins at home over the West Indies and on the subcontinent against Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Depsite taking over the reins at a low point Hussain's record puts him sixth on the table of leading post-war captains.

"He brought passion and a flinty resolve to a team that crumbled too easily," echoed the Financial Times, adding that the England skipper had "transformed his team into a tough and combative Test unit capable of vying with all but the untouchable Australians."

The press also had a few words of warning for incoming captain Vaughan, ranked the world's best batsman at the start of the year and already captain of England's one-day international side.

"The job he has just inherited is one of the toughest in the world of sport," said The Daily Telegraph. "At the moment he must be feeling quite stunned at the suddenness with which it has descended upon him."