Can there have ever been a more unexpected and rapid succession? It
is inkeeping with Nasser Hussain's character that he would choose to
resign the England captaincy on his terms, rather than be forced out,
but if it happens in the middle of a series it is usually when the
series is lost - not after a the first game is drawn. The fact that
he found it impossible to continue as captain without having absolute
authority over his players (as he saw it) says a lot about the man.
Contrast his emotional and intense style of leadership with that of
Steve Waugh, who has remained phlegmatic when he has been axed from
the one-day side, and dignified thoughout the whispering campaign
to hasten his retirement. You could say that Waugh had an easier job
picking up his test team from a succesful ODI captain in the form of
Ricky Ponting, but Hussain had captained England to three consecutive
wins, and has won series home and away in a manner than no other recent
captain has. There is no reason to believe that he couldn't carry on
as a credible captain for some time to come.
The most revealing thing he said when he resigned was 'I was not the
captain England needed *or wanted* on Thursday'. This implies that
the atmosphere in the dressing room was very different to how it was
at the end of the Zimbabwe series. Duncan Fletcher's comment that he
was looking forward to seeing how Vaughan coped with Test captaincy
must have given Hussain food for thought - had Waugh been in charge
he would have shrugged it off with a mental note to chide Fletcher
about it in the team room. Hussain will certainly have brooded on it.
In the end, the experiment with two captains was an immediate failure
because of the nature of Hussain. This is not to criticise him, any
failure has been on the part of the selectors who should have known
him better. Hopefully he will talk to previous captains Atherton and
Stewart who have been demoted to the ranks and continued their careers,
and find a way to put this behind him and continue to score runs for
England. Although I never fully bought into Hussain's captaincy, I've
always admired his ***y-mindedness and his determination. Sometimes
that has been to England's detriment, when he insisted on continuing
in the ODI team at number three, and similarly refusing to drop down
the order in the test team despite an horrendous run of scores.
Overall though, it's probably been positive for England, and for that
he deserves thanks.