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Drop Hussain: Botham

LONDON, MAY 11. England great Ian Botham, on Tuesday, called on the selectors to drop Nasser Hussain and bring in a new middle-order batsman.

Botham is worried that with Hussain 36, Graham Thorpe 35 in August and Surrey team-mate Mark Butcher 32 the same month, England will be confronted by several retirements from its middle order in quick succession unless it take action now to blood a younger player.

And legendary all-rounder Botham told BBC Radio Five that former captain Hussain should be the one to make way for the likes of either Middlesex left-hander Andrew Strauss or Durham all-rounder Paul Collingwood.

``Despite everything he (Hussain) has done for us, I think it's time now for a Strauss, a Collingwood or whoever to come in to that middle order,'' Botham said.

``Because it's much easier for someone to come in and settle down when he's got players like Thorpe and Butcher around.

``If suddenly you have an exodus of three senior players, which could easily happen with Thorpe, Butcher and Hussain, then it's very difficult for those youngsters to come in and take their place," Botham said.

England is due to name the squad for next week's first Test against New Zealand at Lord's on Sunday.

Hussain needs just five more matches to reach his publicly stated goal of playing 100 Tests for England, a landmark he could reach during the current home season where seven Tests in all, three against New Zealand and four against the West Indies, are scheduled. — AFP

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