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Thread: Why batsmen are preferred over bowlers as captains?

  1. #31
    Eternal Optimist / Cricket Web Staff Member GIMH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJS View Post
    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.
    Fair enough, makes sense
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  2. #32
    SJS
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeraintIsMyHero View Post
    Fair enough, makes sense
    On second thoughts, I have removed Noble, Imran and Benaud from that list of Bowlers who could bat.
    Last edited by SJS; 10-05-2009 at 03:37 PM.

  3. #33
    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJS View Post
    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
    Truly telling that only 4 bowlers have ever had captaincy careers of the remotest substance (15 Tests or more), and that the biggest captaincy career for a bowler is 22 matches.
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  4. #34
    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJS View Post
    England's very first Test captain was a bowler.
    That's not entirely substantiate (as it were) though, is it? The term "Test" had, UIMM, never even been used at the time of Lillywhite's tour in 1876/77 - never mind the thought being countenanced that those 22 players were playing the match which would start something which would become remotely what Test cricket has.


  5. #35
    Cricketer Of The Year zaremba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJS View Post
    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.
    Out of interest, SJS, why have you omitted all-rounders? It seems to me that the main difficulty with a bowler being captain is that he's got enough on his plate in the field already, since he has to focus on bowling / recovering. Surely this applies just as much to a Botham as to a Willis?

  6. #36
    SJS
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    Quote Originally Posted by zaremba View Post
    Out of interest, SJS, why have you omitted all-rounders? It seems to me that the main difficulty with a bowler being captain is that he's got enough on his plate in the field already, since he has to focus on bowling / recovering. Surely this applies just as much to a Botham as to a Willis?
    I feel an all rounder (particularly a good batting all rounder) is able to think like a batsman more often and most of the time than as a bowler. I was reading Proctor's autobiography just the other day and he writes that he likes to think of himself as a batsman and thinks like one. Mind you most people will agree that Proctor, one of the great all rounders after Sobers, was a greater bowler than batsman. I think that does make a difference.

    By the way, many people have written on this mater including Bradman in the Art of Cricket recently reviewed by me on CW but one of the finest on the subject is from Brearley in his fascinating book The Art of Captaincy. I hope you can read them clearly


  7. #37
    SJS
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    Will someone tell me whether those scans are readable.

  8. #38
    Hall of Fame Member Goughy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJS View Post
    Will someone tell me whether those scans are readable.
    Sorry SJS, cant see them
    If I only just posted the above post, please wait 5 mins before replying as there is bound to be edits

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  9. #39
    SJS
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goughy View Post
    Sorry SJS, cant see them
    Thanks Goughy. Looks like I have to type it out

  10. #40
    SJS
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    On Bowlers and All Rounders being Captain

    By far the largest proportion of captains, at least at the level of first-class cricket, has been provided by those who are predominantly batsmen. This pattern arises from the class distinctions I have spoken of: gentlemen batted, players bowled, a pattern repeated in services cricket. I remember playing a Combined Services team composed mainly of officers; the bowling was opened, however, by Stoker Healey and Private Stead. Since Captains came from the ranks of the gentlemen, it is not surprising that few captains were bowlers.

    But are there any intrinsic reasons for this…. Bradman for one maintained that the captain should ideally be a batsman; for it is extremely hard for bowlers to be objective about their own craft. They tend to either over-bowl themselves or not to bowl enough, from conceit, modesty or indeed self-protection. The captain has decisions to make and a job to do while his team is batting to be sure. But by far the greater part of his work is to be done in the field, changing the bowlers and fielders, keeping everyone alert. There is a strong case, therefore, against giving the job to someone whose primary task is to bowl.

    On the other hand, two of the best post-war international captains were Richie Benaud and Ray Illingworth. Indeed Illingworth argues in his book Captaincy that the all-rounders, and specially the slow bowling all rounders, are, all else being equal, in the best position for the job. Unlike fast bowlers they do not have to inject so much adrenalin and aggression into their bowling, nor is it quite so physically exhausting. Being bowlers and batsmen they should be able to understand the mentality of both. It is, therefore, easier for them to criticize both. One of Illingworth’s refrains as captain and manager was that he could not understand seam bowlers who are unable to bowl on one side of the wicket. (‘I could do it better blindfold’ he used to say.) Expecting high standards of himself both as batsman and bowler, it was easier to demand them of others. Moreover, a bowling captain is in a position to convince the rest of the team that a declaration is well timed if he will be relying on himself, among others, to prove it right.

    I would agree there is a strong case for an all rounder, if he is a slow or medium paced bowler, as captain. The one argument against is, however, a strong one: is he in the best position for deciding when to bowl himself? In my opinion, Illingworth’s main flaw as captain was in not bowling himself enough.

    I have already implied my opinion about fast bowlers as captains; it takes an exceptional character to know when to bowl, to keep bowling with all his energy screwed up in a ball of aggression, and (still) to be sensitive to the needs of the team, both tactically and psychologically. Willis in particular has always shut himself up in a cocoon of concentration and fury for his bowling. Our headhunters should recommend a fast bowler only as a last resort; unless, of course, they have a man of Mike Proctor’s qualities available.


    Mike Brearley's in The Art of Captaincy .... to be continued...
    Last edited by SJS; 13-05-2009 at 08:03 AM.

  11. #41
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    On Batsmen being Captain

    Captains who are batsmen are also liable to display their own shortcomings. First, I think. there is a greater risk that he will not understand the bowlers. Richard Hutton once complained to me that I expected the bowlers to perform like automata, and his criticism was probably just. I had never to charge in twnty-five to thirty yards and hurl the ball as fast as I could at the stumps. More empathy is called for in the batsman-captain. I do not mean that he needs to know a great deal about the mechanics of bowling, though doubtless this would at times be of help. Rather he needs to enter imaginatively into the minds of his bowlers, young and old, quick and slow, and learn how to get the best out of them.

    There is also a minor drawback in being the opening batsman. For any opener starts to feel the sign of nerves when the opposition has lost eight or nine wickets, or are likely to declare. For the captain who also opens the batting the transition from concentrating on taking these last wickets (which may require him to spur on tired bowlers and deal with his own and the side's frustration) to the kind of calmness he needs for the next job is stark. Close used to urge me to give myself more chance as a batsman by going n lower in the order, at least in Tests.


    On Wicket-keepers being Captain

    From a purely tactical viewpoint, the man who is in the best position to see what the bowlers are doing, and to judge the nature of the pitch, is the wicket keeper. He is often the first to know that a bowler is tiring from the way the ball comes into his gloves. What is more he can often advise the bowler if there is something slightly wrong; for example if he is running in too fast or not fast enough, if he seems to be straining. Its often a 'keeper who knows if a slow bowler is bowling too fast or too slow, too short or too far up for a particular pitch or batsman. Titmus, the great Middlesex off-spinner, would constantly check with John Murray behind the stumps on all these aspects of his craft.

    Yet remarkably few wicket-keepers have become captains; and many of those who have have quickly given up the job. One problem is simply logistic. The captain needs to talk to his bowlers. The wicket-keeper may be seventy yards away from his opening bowler at the start of his run-up. And though a similar problem confronts a captain who fields at slips, at least he is not encumbered by pads for his repeated sprints from bowler to his fielding place.

    The main problem, however, seems to be the degree of concentration that 'keeping entails. Not only do they have to expect to take every delivery, but whenever the ball is struck they have to be prepared for receiving the throw-in, which often means dashing upto the stumps. Taylor was one, who found in a few months of captaining his county side, that one role adversely affected the other; he was no longer keeping at his best. Wicket-keepers make invaluable advisers to the captains; rarely captains themselves. I would rate Rodney Marsh the exception to the rule. For behind the abrasive front was a thoughtful, astute and humorous man, whose players. when he led Western Australia, were totally committed to him. The Australian Board, however, were not. But there preference was not based on technical considerations, such as having a wicket-keeper as a captain. For them he was tarred with the same brush as Ian Chappell, the brush of revolution and extremism. Greg Chappell, with his more dignified air, they could stomach as captain; but they refused to swallow Marsh. This was a major mistake; he might well have proved a more imaginative Test captain than Greg.

    Mike Brearley's The Art of Captaincy

    Everytime I browse through this book of Brearley I marvel at the man. This small excerpt is enough to tell why. It is one of the finest cricket books of all time and definitely the greatest on this subject.
    Last edited by SJS; 13-05-2009 at 08:04 AM.

  12. #42
    International Debutant Dissector's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJS View Post
    Thanks Goughy. Looks like I have to type it out
    You should be able to convert your scan into editable text. You may have to correct the results but it should be better than typing the whole thing. This link explains how to do it with MS Office.

  13. #43
    SJS
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dissector View Post
    You should be able to convert your scan into editable text. You may have to correct the results but it should be better than typing the whole thing. This link explains how to do it with MS Office.
    I use mac

    What do you suggest for that ?

  14. #44
    International Debutant Dissector's Avatar
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    I don't know. The general product is called optical character recognition (ocr). A quick google for free ocr software on the mac gets you this site but I don't know anything about this site or the programs. The best option is probably to ask a tech-savvy friend who owns a Mac.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SJS View Post
    I use mac

    What do you suggest for that ?
    Replace it with a Windows based one? Macs are too cumbersome for people not accustomed with computers from an early life, as I myself can attest. (Assuming you are indeed the fellow in the picture, that is!)

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