Cricket: Four in the frame to take over the leadership

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Alec Stewart

A strong favourite for the job in many eyes, the 34-year-old Surrey batsman- wicketkeeper has underlined his credentials with a sound tour and after 75 caps remains at the peak of his powers. Universally respected, gutsy and fiercely patriotic, he is sure of his place in both Test and one-day teams.

Nasser Hussain

Favoured by Atherton as his natural successor, the former A team captain has matured at 29 and is well established in the side. Possessor of a shrewd tactical brain, the Essex batsman will have his supporters but some in the England hierarchy still harbour doubts over his temperament.

Mark Ramprakash

A supremely gifted but enigmatic player at international level, the 28- year-old Middlesex batsman has still to convince some observers that his character can withstand the pressures of Test cricket, let alone cope with the added responsibilities of leadership. Very much an outside bet.

Adam Hollioake

Named as captain for the one-day series against the West Indies, the 26-year-old Surrey all-rounder is seen by many as a future England Test captain but is probably not ready yet. Impressed in leading the A team in Australia last winter, but after only four Tests his experience at the higher level is too brief.