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Thread: Why batsmen are preferred over bowlers as captains?

  1. #16
    SJS
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    There are many reasons some have been mentioned. Here is another list not exhaustive

    1. England started with only having amateurs as captains and the best amateurs tended to be batsmen rather than bowlers. In fact initially the captains used to be the nobility and the workers had to bowl at them. You will hear of top batsmen asking the authorities to arrange for bowlers from the ground staff to bowl at them for practice. Have never come across a request for a batsman from the staff
    In early English cricket there were plenty of instances of all-rounder captains showing lack of concern for the sensibilities of the professional bowler as well as, at times sacrificing the team's interest. JWHT Douglas.s opening the bowling himself instead of with the great SF Barnes when he was England captain is one of the most striking examples.
    The fact that the best bowlers came from the professionals and the best batsmen from the amateurs is what set the trend to start with.

    2. The physical aspect of bowling has more to do with it than just the laziness and "take-it-easy" attitude of the 'spoilt" amateurs. The captaincy is most at 'display' while the side is fielding with bowling changes and field placings keeping all thats happening in the game and the batsmen in mind is a very demanding and focussed mental exercise. Bowling is very demanding physically PLUS the bowler has a different kind of mental focus which is more specific to what he is doing in his over - ball-to-ball. The non-bowling captain is able to focus better on the broader picture and is physically less strained too.

    3. The leading from the front issue is easier handled when the batsman captain needs to go into bat. But when bowling the dilemma of "should I bowl" is really great and often reflects more on the captain's personal mental state and sense of self confidence (or lack of it) than the a real sense case based on the need of the hour. Of course there will be the odd case of captains who may rise above it but its not considered prudent to put the captain in that dilemma and prevent the over-bowling versus under-bowling conundrum.

  2. #17
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    4. Poor performance on the field can really affect the morale of some players. The captain has a great role to play in talking to those feeling low to keep up the spirits. A non-bowling captain has less of such worries from his personal performance at least while the side is fielding. One has seen some captain bowlers (India's Venkatraghvan is an example) really going to pieces and into a shell when not doing too well himself as a bowler. This in a sense deprives the team of effective leadership in a time of crisis.

    5. For this reason the wicket keepers, who otherwise are ideally suited, are not favoured too. They have the greatest and most intense role to perform while the side is fielding. A really bad day in the field by the wicket keeper can really affect him personally plus he needs more intense and non-stop focus for the longest time than any other player on the field. He has always been considered the most important player on the field (though this seems to have changed) for his work behind the stumps and he has a lot on his plate.
    Last edited by SJS; 09-05-2009 at 10:57 PM.

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    Global Moderator vic_orthdox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaRick View Post
    Fleming, no, but Vaughan's captaincy deteriorated after the 2005 Ashes (possibly due to lack of practice) as Ponting's improved.

    Ponting's has come on nicely as a leader as of late.
    Disagree. In general, the captain is only as good as the execution of the plans. England's bowling went downhill after the Ashes, which took away from the effectiveness of Vaughan's captaincy.

  4. #19
    State Vice-Captain DaRick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vic_orthdox View Post
    Disagree. In general, the captain is only as good as the execution of the plans. England's bowling went downhill after the Ashes, which took away from the effectiveness of Vaughan's captaincy.
    It is true that the most successful captains have good bowling attacks, but I also maintain that Vaughan's lack of match practice hurt his captaincy.


  5. #20
    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Uppercut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJS View Post
    4. Poor performance on the field can really affect the morale of some players. The captain has a great role to play in talking to those feeling low to keep up the spirits. A non-bowling captain has less of such worries from his personal performance at least while the side is fielding. One has seen some captain bowlers (India's Venkatraghvan is an example) really going to pieces and into a shell when not doing too well himself as a bowler. This in a sense deprives the team of effective leadership in a time of crisis.

    5. For this reason the wicket keepers, who otherwise are ideally suited, are not favoured too. They have the greatest and most intense role to perform while the side is fielding. A really bad day in the field by the wicket keeper can really affect him personally plus he needs more intense and non-stop focus for the longest time than any other player on the field. He has always been considered the most important player on the field (though this seems to have changed) for his work behind the stumps and he has a lot on his plate.
    That said, i think the very best captains would often be wicket keepers. The motivational aspect, having the best view of the action in the house and allowing every batsman and every bowler to concentrate completely on their job makes that position perfect IMO- if it's someone well-respected, good and mentally strong enough to overcome what you mentioned in 4.
    Quote Originally Posted by zaremba View Post
    The Filth have comfortably the better bowling. But the Gash have the batting. Might be quite good to watch.

  6. #21
    International Vice-Captain Noble One's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uppercut View Post
    That said, i think the very best captains would often be wicket keepers. The motivational aspect, having the best view of the action in the house and allowing every batsman and every bowler to concentrate completely on their job makes that position perfect IMO- if it's someone well-respected, good and mentally strong enough to overcome what you mentioned in 4.
    I agree. Who else in the team understands better how well a bowler is performing than the keeper? Or pick up on a technical weakness in the game of a batsman? Or get a batsman's eye view of the fielding set-up.

    Problem is each team only contains 1 wicket keeper. Big ask for that 1 player to also be motivational, tactical, respected and have the nous to be a captain. Many keepers are quite happy to focus on their own game, remaining in their own private zone for each and every ball.

    Little suprise batsman end up as captains. They have so little to do whilst out in the field.

  7. #22
    Hall of Fame Member NUFAN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noble One View Post
    I agree. Who else in the team understands better how well a bowler is performing than the keeper? Or pick up on a technical weakness in the game of a batsman? Or get a batsman's eye view of the fielding set-up.

    Problem is each team only contains 1 wicket keeper. Big ask for that 1 player to also be motivational, tactical, respected and have the nous to be a captain. Many keepers are quite happy to focus on their own game, remaining in their own private zone for each and every ball.

    Little suprise batsman end up as captains. They have so little to do whilst out in the field.
    First slip perhaps? Having a captain in the slips is fantastic, he obviously doesn't need to focus quite so much as the keeper does each ball and has almost the same view as the man with the gloves.

    Now that bowlers don't seem to stand in the slips so much because you need someone to replace them when they are bowling this could be as big of a factor as batsmen vs bowler.

  8. #23
    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uppercut View Post
    That said, i think the very best captains would often be wicket keepers. The motivational aspect, having the best view of the action in the house and allowing every batsman and every bowler to concentrate completely on their job makes that position perfect IMO- if it's someone well-respected, good and mentally strong enough to overcome what you mentioned in 4.
    All of what you say is true, but the simple fact is wicketkeepers have to be expecting the ball to come to them every single delivery. You can't do that - properly - if you're also thinking about bowling changes and field-settings. It's why mostly wicketkeeper-captain reigns have been short.
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  9. #24
    Cricketer Of The Year zaremba's Avatar
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    So, can we come up with a list of bowler-captains? And how have they fared?

    I can actually think of very few. The only ones who spring to mind are:

    - Bob Willis
    - Waqar Younis

    There have also been all-rounders who've captained:

    - Gubby Allen
    - Imran Khan
    - Ian Botham
    - Daniel Vettori

    Any others?

    And what are their records like? (I'm not a stasguru, er, guru)

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  11. #26
    SJS
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    Here are the bowlers and wicket keepers who have ledt Test sides.

    Pure Bowlers

    Code:
    TEAM	 Player      	 Tests
    ENG	Lillywhite, J	2
    ENG	Willis, R G D	18
    ENG	Emburey, J E	2
    IND	Venkat      	5
    IND	Bedi, B S	22
    IND	Kumble, A	14
    NZL	Nash, D J	3
    PAK	Waqar Younis	17
    WIN	Walsh, C A	22
    Bowling All Rounders

    Code:
    TEAM	 Player      	 Tests
    AUS	Giffen, G	4
    AUS	Trumble, H	2
    AUS	Johnson, I W	17
    AUS	Lindwall, R R	1
    ENG	Shaw, Alfred	4
    ENG	Gilligan, A E R	9
    ENG	Allen, G O B	11
    ENG	Robins, R W V	3
    ENG	Illingworth, R	31
    IND	Ghulam Ahmed	3
    NZL	Vettori, D L*#	19
    PAK	Fazal Mahmood	10
    PAK	Intikhab Alam	17
    PAK	Wasim Akram	25
    SAF	Pollock, S M	26
    WIN	Goddard, J D C	22
    WIN	Atkinson, D S E	7
    WIN	Bravo, D J J*	1
    ZIM	Streak, H H	21
    ZIM	Murphy, B A*	1
    Wicketkeepers

    Code:
    TEAM	 Player      	 Tests
    AUS	Blackham, J M	8
    AUS	Jarman, B N	1
    AUS	Gilchrist, A C	6
    BDS	Naimur Rehman	7
    BDS	Khaled Mahmud	9
    NZL	Smith, I D S	1
    NZL	Germon, L K	12
    PAK	Imtiaz Ahmed	4
    PAK	Rashid Latif	6
    PAK	Moin Khan	13
    SAF	Sherwell, P W	13
    SAF	Boucher, M V*	4
    WIN	Alexander, 	18
    WIN	Murray, D L	1
    WIN	Jacobs, R D	2
    ZIM	Flower, A	20
    ZIM	Taibu, T#	10
    Sri Lanka is the only team which has has never tried anything but pure batsmen as Test captains.

    England's very first Test captain was a bowler.

    By the way the win and loss percentage overall is as under

    Code:
    Discipline	Win %	Loss %
    
    Bowler Allround	34.3	32.5
    Pure Bowlers	31.4	39
    Wicket-keepers	27.2	37.8
    Last edited by SJS; 10-05-2009 at 03:36 PM.

  12. #27
    Eternal Optimist / Cricket Web Staff Member GIMH's Avatar
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    Shouldn't Flintoff be in the all-rounders list? Or does the fact that he batted 6 exclude him?
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  13. #28
    SJS
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    - Waqar is the most successful bowler skipper winning 10 out of 17 Tests led. Only one other bowler has a fifty percent record - Lillywhite with 1 from two.

    - Pollock (14 from 26) is the most successful bowling all rounder captain. Only Giffen (2fr om 4) of the others has a fifty percent win record.

    - Gilchrist (4 from 6), Rashid (4 from 6) and Boucher (2 from 4) are the most successful keeper captains.
    Last edited by SJS; 10-05-2009 at 03:36 PM.

  14. #29
    SJS
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeraintIsMyHero View Post
    Shouldn't Flintoff be in the all-rounders list? Or does the fact that he batted 6 exclude him?
    He has three times as many centuries as five wicket hauls - six against 2. I have not taken Botham also although he has 27 five wicket hauls.

    Here I have taken captains who are basically bowlers. They just happen to have a Test century (two in the odd case) otherwise I would have called Wasim Akram a bowler really and even Vettori.

    Genuine all rounders like Botham, Kapil, Imran, Flintoff etc are not included.

  15. #30
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    Noble is a borderline case actually. I was going to leave him (and Benaud) out initially.

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