Indian-born but British national Nasser Hussain is 17 years old at the end of this month and looks every bit like a future international. His consistent performances from the age of eight in all grades of cricket read like the achievements of a seasoned professional: Essex Schools Bowler of the Year every year from eight to 14 years, captain of England Schools Under-15s, and their leading wicket-taker in 1982.
Nasser Hussain got the most runs and wickets the following year, was captain of the Essex Schools tour of Barbados in 1982, and was player of the tour at the age of 13, playing for the Young Essex Under-19s at the Cambridge inter-county festival and being one of the two youngest players (Mike Atherton from Lancashire was the other) to represent HMC Schools against England Schools Under-19s.
Essex’s Chief Coach, Bob Richards, says of Nasser, ‘He has got to work hard, of course, but fortunately, he is very willing to do so. In fact, he is always practicing. He is a very exciting player, and the stronger he becomes, the better his batting will become, though he has yet to develop against good bowlers. He is a likable lad and very enthusiastic, though, being a leg-spinner, he may find it more beneficial to concentrate on his batting.’
Kim Parsley, Nasser’s cricket master at Forest School, agrees that he has a talented boy on his hands but says he needs time to mature. ‘He would do well to control his temperament and learn to accept umpires’ decisions. After all, nobody likes being given out. He added, ‘We also have Michael Shepherd, who is another very useful all-rounder.’ His elder brother, Mel Hussein, was recently released by Hampshire.
Nasser Hussain is well aware that it is tough to make it in the first-class game, so he wants to gain a good education first before jumping in with both feet. ‘I have applied to go to either Durham or Loughborough University to study applied physics and would like to get some qualifications behind me. But when I do think about becoming a professional, Essex would be my first choice, as I have been very happy playing and practicing with them.