Nasser Hussain was appointed England captain when all seemed lost for the English cricket team.
England were near the bottom of the heap, with a reputation for inconsistent performances and consistent negativity.
All that changed with the Chennai-born Hussain in charge.
An aggressive captain he changed the team's attitude with astute man-management and shrewd tactics on the field.
Under his leadership, England registered Test series victories in the alien subcontinental conditions of Pakistan and Sri Lanka and rose to third in the ICC rankings.
If England is today once again seen as a major cricketing power, a lot of the credit must go to Nasser Hussain, who laid the foundation for the resurgence that saw the Englishmen defeat the Aussies in last year's Ashes series.
Nasser retired in May 2004 after scoring a dramatic match-winning century in the first Test against New Zealand, saying he wanted to go out on a high and not stand in the way of younger players.
The former England captain spoke to his fans on rediff.com on Wednesday. The complete transcript:
Nasser Hussain answers, Hello and welcome to this special webchat with former England captain Nasser Hussain. We will begin shortly so keep posting those messages. And for more on cricket and Nasser, don't forget to log on to www.nobok.com
sen_54 asked, Is there is any special bond with India as you were born in Chennai?
Nasser Hussain answers, There is a definite bond with India with my Dad. Whenever I go to India I get a lot of support with the people and I really enjoy commentating out there as well. So yes there is as special bond.
champu asked, Nasir, Why did you leave cricket so early? What are your future plans and ambitions?
Nasser Hussain answers, I'm not one to hang around - it had given me a good living and the body and the mind had come to an end. Andrew Strauss had come on the scene and Michael Vaughan was captaining the side well. I wasn't one to hang around as said and pick up money playing club cricket. I want to stay in the game, especially as i have been in it since I was 8.
raj asked, hi Nasser, I have question If you were made the coach for Team India, what would be your priorities?
Nasser Hussain answers, I would say the main one as far as targets would be the second best team in the world. That is where they should be behind Australia with the wealth, resources and pride in the Indian team. The most important thing is the way they crumble. Look at the Mumbai Test [against England] where they got behind the game where they really should have battled a bit better. Another thing would be to travel better where conditions are abit alien to them.
NasserFan asked, Is Monty Panesar world's best finger spinner? Does he deserve a place in the side ahead of Ashley Giles?
Nasser Hussain answers, I don't like to judge people after 4 or 5 games! As long as he carries on the way he's bowling like Daniel Vettori and Harbhajan Singh, then he's got a great chance. He does create a problem in the England side which is the No. 8 position and who is going to bat there!
jaya asked, Nasser, what are your thoughts on Sourav Ganguly as a player?
Nasser Hussain answers, Ganguly the player was and could still be an exceptional player. His record speaks for itself in Test and ODI - so yes very good and a big fan!
Ranga asked, Nasser, do you think with the current crop of rookies like Alastair Cook and Ian Bell, England has chance to retain the Urn Down Under?
Nasser Hussain answers, Definitely! I don't see any reason why they can't retain the Ashes. With Simon Jones missing then there is no reason why they still can't take 20 wickets like they did last summer. They have the youth on their side but look at the way they have performed this summer and they can take that Down Under.
far asked, Nasser, you single-handedly changed the course of the England team in the past few years. What strategy did you adopt in order to achieve success the way you did?
Nasser Hussain answers, We were losing more games than we were winning for a start! Before Duncan Fletcher Fletcher turned up there was no mindset and it would generally be some county players turing up to play. We changed all that and so Duncan has a lot to do with that.
vineet asked, hi, do you think Twenty20 will help popularize cricket?
Nasser Hussain answers, It has done and county cricket was dying a very slow death, and it has brought not just kids but a youthful audience. We have to get bums on seats and the ECB is doing that.
Nishant B asked, what is the difference between Dhoni and Gilchrist?
Nasser Hussain answers, Gilchrist has done it for a longer period of time, all around the world. Dhoni has the potential to be a Gilchrist. He has to keep playing the same way I think. Let's see how he play's in England and Australia. Look at Kamran Akmal at the moment - he has had a terrible time in England so we shouldn't judge people after a year.
seshasai asked, in your view who was the toughest bowler?
Nasser Hussain answers, I found Muralitharan the hardest as I never picked him! Courtney Walsh and Murali were the two I never worked out although looking at it now, it should really be Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath.
amoljoshi asked, is Ian Bell England's Sachin Tendulkar because in Tests he already scored lot of 100 and 50s in very few matches?
Nasser Hussain answers, There is only one Sachin. Bell is a very fine player so he has to get another 30 hundreds before he can be labelled in that category. He can only be as good as Ian Bell can be!
ikv asked, Naseer, I also believe that England side needs major changes and fresh ideas and even a fresh coach for one-dayers if they want to pose any threat in the coming World Cup. It seems that for Duncan and ECB, the English team's performances in one-dayers do not matter much. They only keep talking about Ashes. Isn't it time that ECB and England start realising that there is more to cricket then just Ashes! What are your thoughts?
Nasser Hussain answers, Well, the Ashes has been very important as they were unable to win them for so long until last year. The media hype is such that there will be a lot of interest in this year's Ashes, but Fletcher behind the scenes will secretly be putting it to the players that they need to perform much better in the one-day matches. It is very important for England to do well in the one-dayers as they have too many good players to be labelled a bad side.
mukesh asked, Hello Mr. Hussain, can you point out few reasons for recent slump of form of Sachin Tendulkar?
Nasser Hussain answers, I think he is continuously having these injuries so the tennis elbow is affecting his technique. He is a touch player after all and maybe his eyes aren't as sharp as they used to be. Let's see how he is when he gets back from injury and the World Cup.
ashik asked, Hi Nassir, Do u think that England will be the next World Cup winner?
Nasser Hussain answers,They have a great chance and the odds are incredible on them. In a one-off game they can beat anyone and that's being one-eyed. Win a couple of games and they will be in the groove. One thing they haven't changed over the years is their one-day form - they have always been good in patches. But they will be a good bet to win in the Caribbean with the small grounds there.
number3 asked, do you still remember the Lord's NatWest Trophy final against India?
Nasser Hussain answers, Every single day of my life. It was a great game where two lads [Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif] played out of their skin. With India five wickets down we should have won that game and I still recall that game along with the 2003 World Cup game against Australia which was a game with a similar pattern to it.
seemit praharaj asked, what do u think of Greg Chappell as a coach?
Nasser Hussain answers, He has been very impressive. The way he handles the media and he is not to be messed with. The way he has gone with the youth and experience has been exceptional and I caught it first hand when I was over in India this year. Indian cricket needs Chappell as it is very easy to get swayed in India but he was the man to come in and change the face of the team and it's so far so good.
deepak_verma asked, Which corner of the world you like the most for your vaccations?
Nasser Hussain answers, I am looking forward to Australia this year so it must be that. The Caribbean and Barbados is another great destination.
sampal asked, Hi nasseer, Monty looks very promising for the Ashes dont you think so? Can he cope with the crowd pressure in Australia?
Nasser Hussain answers, From what I've seen he has done a great job with the crowd. He will have to be looked after by the captain and Australia will be the biggest challenge yet.
venkatramesh asked, Hi Nasir which is your best innings?
Nasser Hussain answers, 207 against Australia in Birmingham against the Aussies. I was in the zone and couldn't play better than that.
Nidhi asked, Hi Nasser, Since you yourself are a commentator now, what are your views on the controversy surrounding the Dean Jones' incident?
Nasser Hussain answers,You have to be very careful with the microphone. Dean is very apologetic and people make mistakes. It is a shame all round to be honest.
venki asked, how well are you enjoying commentary?
Nasser Hussain answers, I enjoy it immensely. It is always good to talk a good game than play. We have a good spirit up there and there are a lot harder things to be doing!
imran asked, does England have a chance of wining the Ashes again without some good players like Michael Vaughan and Simon Jones??
Nasser Hussain answers, It will be tough but if they can work out how to take 20 Australian wickets then yes they have a great chance. The key is the bowlers and the Kookaburra balls.
muru asked, Hi Nasser, what do you think the reason for not developing a fine all-round performing English team after Ian botham's era? Does it have something to do with the way county matches are played? Don't you think county matches should only played with English players, so that new talents would come up, just like the domestic tournaments in India.
Nasser Hussain answers, I think the key is a vibrant domestic cricket with the best standard. They have gone too far with the Kolpak players but the likes of the Andy Flower's lifts the standard of play in domestic cricket. If a player like Alistair Cook is good enough to play for England then look at what Essex have done with their youth development side which suggests there is a good structure in place. I think there is too much county cricket though.
Ramu asked, Hi nasser..Do you think that Michael Vaughan's career is over or he can comeback before the Ashes?
Nasser Hussain answers, We just write people off very quickly. I am sceptical about whether he should be playing ODI cricket. I think a decision should be made soon about whether he should play the short game with his dodgy knees. He should come back gradually. He deserves to play 100 Test matches and I would like him to make that mark - it's not all doom and gloom with Vaughan.
Cricfan asked, Will take the post of England Cricket team coach?
Nasser Hussain answers, I would love to do the job but you need to be calm, quiet and disciplined which is definitely not me!
Nishant B asked, India's wall is Rahul Dravid, who is England's wall?
Nasser Hussain answers, There isn't an equivalent in World Cricket. No one bats like the Wall after all. Ian Bell is that sort of player, and maybe Andrew Strauss is like him. Dravid is currently the world's best batsmen there is no doubt about it and it was evident against England why he was called what he is, it was just a shame that his players couldn't play with him when England drew the series in Mumbai.
criclover asked, If somebody asks you, what is your best accomplishment in cricket, what would be your answer?
Nasser Hussain answers, Well, looking at the current England side and where they have got to in world cricket then I would like to say i played a part with Fletcher on where they are today. For me, there are a couple of things that stand out - winning a great series in Sri Lanka and coming from behind to win in Colombo was great... It is one of the toughest places to win and we pulled it off.
mrajesh1091 asked, in India who is the most powerful batsman?
Nasser Hussain answers, Obviously Sehwag on his day can be very explosive and with Jaffer they looked a formidable part earlier this year, but India have lost the classic openers that they have possessed in the past. Dhoni could become a very fine player. As I said earlier, they shouldn't be No. 4 or so in the world and should be challenging England on a more regular basis because of India's passion for the game.
nitin singh asked, Hi Nasser, Good Afternoon..What is the most diffcult part in a player's life? Is it burden of expectation or is it peer pressure or may be fitness?
Nasser Hussain answers, Well, touring is one aspect I always found tough especially with a young family. The pressure of captaining England and constantly being hounded was tough but I enjoyed the thrill, especially when I answered my critics or scored a big innings. Fitness you can deal with, but definitely touring, which is even tougher in today's modern game.
toamit asked, which place in India do u like the most?
Nasser Hussain answers, When I get the chance to go to India, I like Delhi where I spent time with my family earlier this year. The buzz and life in Mumbai is very exciting and when there is a touring team in the city there is a special atmosphere.
k7raja asked, I saw the other day Leicestershire winning the Twenty20 cup with the handful of crowd enjoying it all of them ignoring the pouring rain. What will make it to become famous in India, which is very reluctant to it at this moment?
Nasser Hussain answers, I would have thought it would very popular in India and it is a mystery as to why there is a reluctance as it is a lucrative initiative for counties in England. I think there would be great crowds if it happens in India, so why not?
Nasser Hussain answers, Okay, this is Nasser Hussain and that's all we have time for. I hope you have enjoyed it! Please visit www.nobok.com for more interviews with myself and other Indian cricket news. Catch Farokh Engineer's views on the current Indian ODI side on today's Nobok cricket page. Thanks and see you soon!