SPORT

Nasser Hussain to get OBE

LONDON, DEC. 30. According to the British media and the Sunday papers here, Nasser Hussain, the current England cricket captain, is to receive an OBE (Order of the British Empire), in the Queen's New Year's honours list, for helping to restore the fortunes of English cricket, which had been pretty low when he took over the English captaincy.

The honour is in recognition of the revival of England's cricketing fortunes over the past two and a half years under `Hussain's cool and shrewd leadership'. After a very poor run in recent times, the team scored four straight Test series wins - home victories over the West Indies (the first since 1969) and Zimbabwe and wins in Pakistan (first since 1962) and Sri Lanka.

The 33-year-old Hussain, who plays for Essex, made his debut for England against the West Indies in 1990 and has played in 66 Tests so far. In all, he has scored 3,726 Test runs, which includes nine centuries and 19 50s for an average of 35.15, despite being considered to be of ``average calibre as a Test batsman ''.

David Graveney, chairman of English selectors, said: ``Tactically, Nasser is very strong and is also passionate about leading his country. He is proud to stride out in front of his men and, in all, he has created a fantastic team spirit.''

Somerset to honour Viv Richards

Meanwhile, Somerset County has decided to honour its former cricketer Sir Vivian Richards by having a set of gates named after him at Taunton ground.

The former West Indies captain made 191 first-class appearances for the county in a career that lasted 13 years. He made his debut in 1974 and went on to score 14,698 runs at an average of almost 50 per game.

Richards, Joel Garner and England's all-rounder Ian Botham made Somerset one of the most exciting counties to watch in the late 70s and early 80s.

Antigua-born Richards, now aged 49, was named by the Wisden as one of the almanac's five `Cricketers of the Century'.

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