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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 4 March, 2003, 15:44 GMT

Hussain right to go
By Jonathan Agnew
BBC cricket correspondent

Nasser Hussain's resignation as one day captain was widely expected, although the timing adds further to the irony of England being knocked out of the World Cup by Zimbabwe.

Hussain, the batsman, sat awkwardly in England's one-day team.

David Graveney and Nasser Hussain
Hussain with chairman of selectors David Graveney
Throughout, it was difficult to settle on his ideal position - in the previous World Cup he opened the innings - so juggling the other batsmen around him was always a problem.

In many ways, one must admire his desire to grasp the nettle now, rather than allow the issue to drag on into the start of next season.

Hussain has endured the mother of all winters, is entitled to feel utterly exhausted, and now he can go home and get his feet up, safe in the knowledge that he has, as always, given it his best shot.

A major headache for Hussain has been England's boycott of Zimbabwe which ultimately contributed significantly to them being knocked out of the tournament.

Once England handed over the four points, this was always going to be a potential outcome.

In fact, all the worst fears of the pundits have been confirmed as this troubled competition lurches into its second phase.

There was astonishment when the World Cup was scheduled for this time of year because it is the rainy season in Southern Africa.

Rain put paid to Soiuth Africa in Durban
The ICC must look at the rain rules for future tournaments

This was compounded by the decision to scrap reserve days for the opening round, and South Africa, Pakistan, West Indies and England have all been affected by the weather in one way or another.

The extraordinary naivety of the ICC and the tournament organisers, who all believed they could keep politics and cricket separate, not only placed England in an impossible position with regard to Zimbabwe, but also resulted in New Zealand refusing to travel to Kenya.

This propelled Kenya into the Super Sixes and, because of the points they carry with them, gives them a ridiculously good chance of reaching the semi-finals.

At the half-way stage, the South African boast of this being the biggest and best World Cup in cricket's history is looking absurd.

All we can hope is that serious lessons have been learned before the West Indies host the tournament in 2007.





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