Lamb determined to keep Hussain

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The Independent Online

The England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive, Tim Lamb, hopes to persuade Nasser Hussain to abandon his plans to retire from the England captaincy after next year's World Cup in South Africa.

Hussain feels the time would be right for him to stand down, saying: "I took over from Alec Stewart after the last World Cup, and it would complete a natural cycle." Lamb, however, is determined to see the 33-year-old carry on as captain.

"I haven't seen the exact quote that he made but I think it would be a shame if he did retire after the World Cup," Lamb said. "He's made a terrific impact since he took over, and I think we just need to sit down and discuss the situation with him.

"I think Nasser and Duncan Fletcher [the England coach] have started to forge a really good working relationship and I very much hope that relationship will continue. So – although I've heard about the quote he has made, that he's thinking of stepping down – I very much hope he'll continue for a while yet."

The West Indies have pulled out of a scheduled tour of Pakistan, due to start this month, because of the current climate of military and political tension there. The West Indians have said, however, that they would be willing to play at a neutral venue such as Sharjah.

The West Indies' tour, comprising three Tests and three one-day internationals, had been planned for 25 January to 6 March. New Zealand and Sri Lanka also pulled out of scheduled tours to Pakistan after the 11 September attacks in the United States.

Australia have invited Pakistan to play a three-match limited-overs series at the end of June. A fixture programme has not been finalised, but the games are likely to be played indoors.

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