Former England captain Nasser Hussain, who played 96 Tests and 88 ODIs, has a special connection with India, given that he was born in Madras (now Chennai) on March 28, 1968.
Hussain also scored his one and only ODI century against India in the famous NatWest Trophy final in 2002. A well-renowned cricket pundit, Hussain in an exclusive interview to The Cricket Monthly has given his views on Test cricket’s existence and why India is a cricket powerhouse and the world should accept it.
Hussain said, “I've been hearing this apocalyptic scenario for almost a decade, that Test cricket is in demise. I think it's still a wonderful product and we've got to be careful that we don't keep knocking it. I repeat: just because they're not flooding in for Test matches in certain parts of the world doesn't mean they're not interested.”
He also spoke about Virat Kohli and his brand of playing Test cricket.
“What India and Virat Kohli have done in the last couple of years, boy have they taken to Test match cricket. They've upped their number of games, both home and away, and seem to be really putting meaning into it. the fact that he wanted to come to Surrey for a few weeks to prepare for the England tour, despite the huge number of commitments in his life, it speaks volumes,” said Hussain.
Talking about four-day Tests, Hussain replied in the negative, “No, I'm not a fan of four-day Tests. Prepare a pitch that you hope will last four days and the fifth's a bonus. If you go to four days, there's an urgency to do things a bit quicker and you lose the story a little bit.”
“Day-night Tests? I don't mind them. It works in certain parts of the world. In places like Adelaide, Cape Town, Barbados, I think it works well,” he said about day-night cricket.
Hussain, however, admitted that India is a powerhouse of cricket. “India is a powerhouse because cricket is in their blood. They're as strong as they are not because of the IPL or because of Virat Kohli but because it's their absolute passion, it's what they do, it's who they are, and we shouldn't be jealous of that. We shouldn't knock a magnificent franchise tournament, maybe the best,” he said.
Hussain also suggested some ideas to make ODI cricket interesting like, “The first thing I'd do is go back to one ball. There's an argument that you can't see it at the end, or it goes soft, but that's just batsmen being soft themselves, in my view. Reverse swing is one of the great arts to have gone out of ODIs.”
Second idea Hussain gave was, “I'd also push the boundaries back a little, help the spinners, but in general, if you're turning up to a white-ball game, you should want bat slightly dominating the ball.”
Talking about the future of cricket, Hussain said that he was optimistic.
He said, “Yes, very optimistic. For obvious reasons, I've been to a lot of games of cricket in the last five years and I can't remember many boring ones, whether it's Test matches, ODIs, T20 internationals, franchise, domestic, whatever. Yes, I'm looking at it a little bit from an English perspective, absolutely, and we have to realize that one of the biggest concerns in world cricket is that the rich, the "haves", are getting stronger and better, and the "have-nots" are struggling a little bit.”
(inputs from cricketmonthly.com/ESPNCricinfo)