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Thread: Why batsmen are preferred over bowlers as captains?

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    Why batsmen are preferred over bowlers as captains?

    A look at the captains of the present Test world indicates :

    R Ponting - Aus - Batsman
    M Dhoni - Ind - WK
    Y Khan - Pak - Batsman
    C Gayle - WI - Batsman
    D Vettori - NZ - Batsman although camouflaged as left arm spin
    G Smith - SA - Batsman
    M Jayawardena - SL - Batsman
    A Strauss - Eng - Batsman

    Even if we take the names of past captains, we cannot see many bowling captains. Exceptions are there like the rotating chairs of Pakistan, Walsh for WI, Kumble for India, Flintoff for Eng etc. But 80-90% of all test captains in history have been batsmen.

    Why?

    Considering the fact it is undisputed that bowlers are the ones who win matches and batsmen set them up, it is slightly bizzare to notice the huge skew in favor of batsmen. And not that the bowler captains have done a terrible job. Imran Khan, Kapil Dev, Walsh, Kumble etc were excellent and inspirational captains.

    But still it seems to be a tradition that teams prefer batsmen as captain. Australia for instance has not had a single bowler captain since the days of old Richie Benaud.

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    U19 Vice-Captain rivera213's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pheobe View Post
    A look at the captains of the present Test world indicates :

    R Ponting - Aus - Batsman
    M Dhoni - Ind - WK
    Y Khan - Pak - Batsman
    C Gayle - WI - Batsman
    D Vettori - NZ - Batsman although camouflaged as left arm spin
    G Smith - SA - Batsman
    M Jayawardena - SL - Batsman
    A Strauss - Eng - Batsman

    Even if we take the names of past captains, we cannot see many bowling captains. Exceptions are there like the rotating chairs of Pakistan, Walsh for WI, Kumble for India, Flintoff for Eng etc. But 80-90% of all test captains in history have been batsmen.

    Why?

    Considering the fact it is undisputed that bowlers are the ones who win matches and batsmen set them up, it is slightly bizzare to notice the huge skew in favor of batsmen. And not that the bowler captains have done a terrible job. Imran Khan, Kapil Dev, Walsh, Kumble etc were excellent and inspirational captains.

    But still it seems to be a tradition that teams prefer batsmen as captain. Australia for instance has not had a single bowler captain since the days of old Richie Benaud.
    Presumably because boards want their captain to take note of all that is going on whoever is bowling. I personally wouldn't want a bowler to be thinking about anything other than his own bowling.

    I think spinners can potentially be good captains. It's astounding Shane Warne has never captained Australia. He's had some good captains, but I'd have chose him over Ponting every day of the week.

    Imran Khan and Kapil Dev are the exceptions to the rule I feel (as far as seam bowlers as captain goes).

    Of the names you listed, there really aren't any other candidates for the captaincy who haven't already tried their hand at it.

    I don't like Dhoni or Gayle as captains but take out Tendulkar & Dravid from the India team regulars and you're left with Sehwag, Laxman, Dhoni, Khan, Ishant, Harbajhan. Sehwag as VC would be the best fit probably, but you aren't overwhelmed with natural leaders. In the WI set-up, only Gayle, Sarwan, Chanderpaul, Ramdin, Taylor & Edwards are defo's and none of them are natural leaders IMHO.

    For Australia, there is Hussey & Katich who I believe could do equally as good a job as Ponting has. Michael Clarke will be a future Aussie captain I'm sure but it's too early for him.

    I would personally say that Strauss, Khan, Vettori, Smith & Jayawardene are the best joices as captain.

    So there really are no bowling candidates for captain in the current world XI's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rivera213 View Post
    Presumably because boards want their captain to take note of all that is going on whoever is bowling. I personally wouldn't want a bowler to be thinking about anything other than his own bowling.

    I think spinners can potentially be good captains. It's astounding Shane Warne has never captained Australia. He's had some good captains, but I'd have chose him over Ponting every day of the week.

    Imran Khan and Kapil Dev are the exceptions to the rule I feel (as far as seam bowlers as captain goes).

    Of the names you listed, there really aren't any other candidates for the captaincy who haven't already tried their hand at it.

    I don't like Dhoni or Gayle as captains but take out Tendulkar & Dravid from the India team regulars and you're left with Sehwag, Laxman, Dhoni, Khan, Ishant, Harbajhan. Sehwag as VC would be the best fit probably, but you aren't overwhelmed with natural leaders. In the WI set-up, only Gayle, Sarwan, Chanderpaul, Ramdin, Taylor & Edwards are defo's and none of them are natural leaders IMHO.

    For Australia, there is Hussey & Katich who I believe could do equally as good a job as Ponting has. Michael Clarke will be a future Aussie captain I'm sure but it's too early for him.

    I would personally say that Strauss, Khan, Vettori, Smith & Jayawardene are the best joices as captain.

    So there really are no bowling candidates for captain in the current world XI's.
    First of all I disagree that bowlers would find it difficult to concentrate on anything other than their bowling.

    Secondly, I don't understand this spinner vs fast bowler theory as far as captaincy is concerned. I have heard no one talking about how good Glenn McGrath would have been as a captain. It is certainly a point I have pondered on, but there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest him being considered captaincy material, not even discussed about, which I find a great shame.

    I do agree with your observation that batsmen tend to have generally longer shelf lives as compared to bowlers and that could be one of the reasons for their dominance in captaincy stakes. However, I disagree with two of your minute opinions. I regard Dhoni to be an astute captain, and would have loved to see how Murali captained Sri Lanka.

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    Eternal Optimist / Cricket Web Staff Member GIMH's Avatar
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    I don't buy that it's 'undisputed' that bowlers win matches. I've seen it disputed over and over at this forum.
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    U19 Vice-Captain rivera213's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pheobe View Post
    First of all I disagree that bowlers would find it difficult to concentrate on anything other than their bowling.
    Whilst they're bowling they (hopefully) wouldn't concentrate on anything else. If you drop your concentration at international level then you'll get punished.


    Secondly, I don't understand this spinner vs fast bowler theory as far as captaincy is concerned. I have heard no one talking about how good Glenn McGrath would have been as a captain. It is certainly a point I have pondered on, but there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest him being considered captaincy material, not even discussed about, which I find a great shame.
    Just instinct I suppose. I just don't see temperamental, aggressive fast bowlers as potential captains. Spinners on the other hand, while aggressive in bowling, aren't in temperament (barring Harbajhan who I think would be possibly the worst choice for India captain after Yuvraj).


    I do agree with your observation that batsmen tend to have generally longer shelf lives as compared to bowlers and that could be one of the reasons for their dominance in captaincy stakes. However, I disagree with two of your minute opinions. I regard Dhoni to be an astute captain, and would have loved to see how Murali captained Sri Lanka.
    I don't think Dhoni would do half as well with New Zealand's team as he has thus far with India. There are also a number of experienced players around him (Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar, Z.Khan, Laxman...) so he isn't short of opinion.

    Murali may've done very well as captain 6 or 7 years ago, but he isn't an option now since he's obviously coming towards the conslusion of his (awesome) career.

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    [QUOTE=rivera213;1906707]Whilst they're bowling they (hopefully) wouldn't concentrate on anything else. If you drop your concentration at international level then you'll get punished.[QUOTE]

    I guess the same applies to batting as well. Even more critical are powers of concentration in that aspect.

    Just instinct I suppose. I just don't see temperamental, aggressive fast bowlers as potential captains. Spinners on the other hand, while aggressive in bowling, aren't in temperament (barring Harbajhan who I think would be possibly the worst choice for India captain after Yuvraj).
    Well, we can't say really, can we? For a long time, Ponting used to be the trouble kid in Australian ranks, and once he aged and was earmarked as captain, he blossomed splendidly into a good leader. Perhaps, Mitchell Johnson has it in him to be a future Aussie captain.

    I don't think Dhoni would do half as well with New Zealand's team as he has thus far with India. There are also a number of experienced players around him (Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar, Z.Khan, Laxman...) so he isn't short of opinion.
    However, he is the captain and the buck stops with him. Also, the team that he inherited from Kumble was more or less the same, and yet Kumble's India was not exactly setting the world on fire. Dhoni has won a T20 WC, 5 tests out of his 6 (would have been all 6 but for the weather in NZ), and ODI series in Australia as captain. And seniors like Tendulkar have come out in the open praising lavishly his captaincy skills. He also captained CSK to the IPL finals last year, and missed out just by a whisker. If all this is due to luck, then I would love to define captaincy as the art of using your luck.

    Murali may've done very well as captain 6 or 7 years ago, but he isn't an option now since he's obviously coming towards the conslusion of his (awesome) career.
    So true. Wish he got the command ahead of Jayawardena, who was not half bad either. But I guess Murali had a bigger claim than Atapattu or Jayasurya back then. Could be that he is from a minority (Tamil) segment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pheobe View Post
    A look at the captains of the present Test world indicates :

    R Ponting - Aus - Batsman
    M Dhoni - Ind - WK
    Y Khan - Pak - Batsman
    C Gayle - WI - Batsman
    D Vettori - NZ - Batsman although camouflaged as left arm spin
    G Smith - SA - Batsman
    M Jayawardena - SL - Batsman
    A Strauss - Eng - Batsman

    Even if we take the names of past captains, we cannot see many bowling captains. Exceptions are there like the rotating chairs of Pakistan, Walsh for WI, Kumble for India, Flintoff for Eng etc. But 80-90% of all test captains in history have been batsmen.

    Why?

    Considering the fact it is undisputed that bowlers are the ones who win matches and batsmen set them up, it is slightly bizzare to notice the huge skew in favor of batsmen. And not that the bowler captains have done a terrible job. Imran Khan, Kapil Dev, Walsh, Kumble etc were excellent and inspirational captains.

    But still it seems to be a tradition that teams prefer batsmen as captain. Australia for instance has not had a single bowler captain since the days of old Richie Benaud.
    Because precam's a ****, imo.
    Quote Originally Posted by flibbertyjibber View Post
    Only a bunch of convicts having been beaten 3-0 and gone 9 tests without a win and won just 1 in 11 against England could go into the home series saying they will win. England will win in Australia again this winter as they are a better side which they have shown this summer. 3-0 doesn't lie girls.

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    U19 Vice-Captain rivera213's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pheobe View Post
    I guess the same applies to batting as well. Even more critical are powers of concentration in that aspect.
    Yeah but you don't bat and field at the same time so it doesn't impact as much. It's very much the lesser of 2 evils IMO.

    Though, there is a link between captaincy and loss of form. Hussain & Vaughan being 2 obvious England ex-skippers.


    Well, we can't say really, can we? For a long time, Ponting used to be the trouble kid in Australian ranks, and once he aged and was earmarked as captain, he blossomed splendidly into a good leader. Perhaps, Mitchell Johnson has it in him to be a future Aussie captain.
    Yeah, but like Dhoni, Ponting has had the luxury of some all-time greats in his team. You don't really need to do much if you have a quality team. Ponting isn't a patch on Vaughan or Fleming in terms of captaincy skills.

    Johnson has a good cricket brain. I can't see the ACB appointing him as captain though. It's not the Aussie way.


    However, he is the captain and the buck stops with him. Also, the team that he inherited from Kumble was more or less the same, and yet Kumble's India was not exactly setting the world on fire. Dhoni has won a T20 WC, 5 tests out of his 6 (would have been all 6 but for the weather in NZ), and ODI series in Australia as captain. And seniors like Tendulkar have come out in the open praising lavishly his captaincy skills. He also captained CSK to the IPL finals last year, and missed out just by a whisker. If all this is due to luck, then I would love to define captaincy as the art of using your luck.
    His record is good thus far but take a look at the test stats of these players under Kumble and Dhoni:

    (Innings, Runs, Average[Run Average], 100's, 50's)-
    GAMBHIR: 12, 610, 50.83[x], 1, 3 plays 10, 824, 91.55[82.40], 3, 4
    DRAVID: 27, 785, 31.40[28.07], 1, 5 plays 13, 401, 36.45[30.85], 1, 2
    TENDULKAR: 22, 904, 45.20[41.09], 2, 5 plays 11, 606, 67.33[55.09], 3, 2

    (Innings, Wickets, Average, Eco, SR)-
    KHAN: 14, 24, 39.70, 3.44, 69.2 plays 12, 23, 30.04, 3.01, 59.8
    ISHANT: 14, 24, 38, 3.24, 70.1 plays 14, 24, 27.83, 3.05, 54.5


    Some would say that's partly down to Dhoni, and probably so, but their form is also responsible for Dhoni's excellent stats as captain.

    It'll be interesting to see what he does in the long run (30 or tests as captain).



    So true. Wish he got the command ahead of Jayawardena, who was not half bad either. But I guess Murali had a bigger claim than Atapattu or Jayasurya back then. Could be that he is from a minority (Tamil) segment.
    I liked Atapattu as captain, though he was just a little bit too outspoken.

    I possibly would've gone with Murali over Jayasuriya.

    I'm not sure of the politics in Sri Lanka so I don't know whether his background has/had an impact on his exclusion from captaincy consideration.

    Hopefully it isn't the case.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pheobe View Post
    And not that the bowler captains have done a terrible job. Imran Khan, Kapil Dev, Walsh, Kumble etc were excellent and inspirational captains.

    But still it seems to be a tradition that teams prefer batsmen as captain. Australia for instance has not had a single bowler captain since the days of old Richie Benaud.
    Benaud was an inspirational captain himself; arguably Australia's greatest captain of all (though he himself considers the mantle lies at the door of Ian Chappell).

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    I think there's also issues about captains either overbowling or underbowling themselves. It's usually the latter which is obviously not the best thing for the team (unless you are Cameron White, who has done the world a great deal of good by putting his bowling on the shelf).

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    I think it's more abt personality, understanding of the game, leadership quality and ability to build a rapport that determines who becomes captain. We have had quite a few bowlers as captains like Imran, Kapil, Botham, Wasim, Waqar, Pollock and Kumble to name a few.

    One of the things that boards see is the ability of a player to stay injury free and in-form. Usually when a batsman is out-of-form, it is easier to play him in the 11. On the other hand a bowler when out of form appears like a bigger liability

    case: (out-of-form) Kumble vs Ganguly as India's captain
    Last edited by ret; 09-05-2009 at 07:39 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeraintIsMyHero View Post
    I don't buy that it's 'undisputed' that bowlers win matches. I've seen it disputed over and over at this forum.
    Really?. Well im not in that camp.

    - England would won in the WI quite easily. If the 05 Ashes attack was still fit & firing at top gear.

    Barbados 99. Lara's 153 in that chase, wouldn't have been possible if Walsh didn't take 5 wickets to restrict Australian in their second innings.

    - India would have won more overseas test matches in the 1990s, if they had a stronger bowling attack.

    - 1954. West Indies may have been able to upset that great England team, if they had Hall & Griffith a bit earlier. Given the spin twins of Ramadin/Valentine had them.

    So much more examples throughout history as well..

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    Always believed there was no single reason why batsman are preferred over bowlers. Just a wide variety of factors.

    One of the factors I always felt was important was that most bowlers, especially fast bowlers are generally only suited to fielding in the deep. Not much point having a captain barking orders from down at fine-leg.

    It was a liability for teams to have players such as Walsh and Younis fielding at mid-on/mid-off due to captaincy committments.

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    Well, there are a number of reasons:

    1) The need to concentrate on bowling whilst on the field
    2) Stereotypes about fast bowlers being idiots
    3) The normal field positions of bowlers (i.e - fine leg/deeper positions) aren't really conducive to good communication with teammates
    4) The possibility of underbowling or overbowling themselves
    5) A possibility of a performance drop-off with the burden of captaincy (applies to both batsman and bowlers, though, TBH)

    There are some expections to the rule. Richie Benaud was an excellent captain, as was Imran Khan. I also believe that Wasim Akram (match-fixing controversies aside), was a decent captain.

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    State Vice-Captain DaRick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rivera213 View Post
    Yeah, but like Dhoni, Ponting has had the luxury of some all-time greats in his team. You don't really need to do much if you have a quality team. Ponting isn't a patch on Vaughan or Fleming in terms of captaincy skills.
    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.

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