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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 May, 2004, 14:37 GMT 15:37 UK
Hussain: Two men, one exit
Jonathan Agnew
By Jonathan Agnew
BBC cricket correspondent

Nasser Hussain
Nasser is two very different people, a complicated character

In many ways, Nasser Hussain's retirement from all cricket is absolutely typical - it was something most people in his position simply wouldn't do.

It is an intriguing decision. There will be many former team-mates and opponents out there who will think he's gone mad.

But Nasser is an impulsive, emotional man. He proved that when he suddenly decided to give up the captaincy in the same sort of way last year.

In his early years, this impulsive streak manifested itself in quite a temper. He often found himself in trouble with authorities because of flare-ups on and off the field.

Nasser is two very different people, a complicated character.

On one hand he is quite a volatile personality, on the other he is extremely thoughtful and thought-provoking - and it is this side I and other members of the media will miss.

You always got something interesting out of him because he didn't go for the boring clichés.

He has a television job already lined up and will be most welcome in the various media centres. He has no enemies there that I know of.

People always say that Nasser wears his heart on his sleeve, but that is only a half-truth. To his credit he always told you what he felt, but you couldn't always predict what he was going to say.

Monday night at Lord's was a perfect example. Nobody on the planet would have thought that within moments of winning a Test for England he was going to make this decision.

Nasser Hussain
Nasser will think he has taken a difficult decision out of England's hands

He is going out on a really high note but there will be mixed reactions.

Some will find it bizarre that he is bowing out four matches short of 100 Tests and after scoring such a fine century.

There will also be those who point to the fact his place has been hotly debated in recent times. He didn't have the best of winters if you take Bangladesh away and people will look at his age.

But another facet of Nasser's personality is that he is a ferociously proud man.

He would not relish the drawn-out procedure that would have eventually led to his axing. He retired from one-day cricket after the World Cup before he was dropped, and he certainly would have been.

There is no escaping his age, and there is no escaping the queue of younger players wanting his place.

He was aware of that, and maybe he is more magnanimous that people give him credit for.

Some people inside the England camp were furious when he handed in the Test captaincy, yet it turned out to be the right decision in the end.

Most sportsmen are selfish and fight like hell for themselves. But if Nasser is looking at the bigger picture and wondering where Andrew Strauss and Michael Vaughan will fit in the batting order, then he is taking a remarkably selfless view.

But there's no coming back now and he will hold his head high.

Nasser will think he has taken a difficult decision out of England's hands, and given the circumstances it is hard to argue with him.




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