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Thread: The 10 Greatest Test Captains

  1. #31
    SJS
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    Quote Originally Posted by King Pietersen View Post
    I'll have a go:

    Sir Frank Worrell
    Douglas Jardine
    Mike Brearley
    Sir Don Bradman
    Ian Chappell
    Imran Khan
    Richie Benaud
    Stephen Fleming
    Arjuna Ranatunga
    Nawab of Pataudi

    In no particular order. =]
    Pataudi is the one in that list I was most reluctant to leave out from mine.

    We choose a lot of great captains based on their win records but then lots of great sides have great win records anyway. Its when a side is mediocre (as with Pataudi) instead of great (as with Bradman, say) that a really great skipper can be noticed by the discerning. I finally left him out only because the other ten were simply too good to leave out. Though I did think of leaving out Bradman I must admit

    I doubt any captain could have done better, with a team of no-hopers riven with politics and personal ambitions in a set up that almost encouraged petty politicking, than did Mansur Ali Khan. Indian cricket owes him a greater debt than Australia.
    Last edited by SJS; 05-06-2009 at 07:13 AM.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by NUFAN View Post
    I was just doing a bit of a look at the Captains recently who have captained 25 matches or more (for sheep draft question).

    Found it interesting just how good Pontings stats compare with Steve Waughs
    . Mike Brearley had the most successful % so he'd have to be a very good shot at number 1.

    I think Mark Taylor should be in contention as I always think of him as a better skipper over Captain Grumpy, ofcourse I admire Border for his brilliant batting and appreciate that he didn't have the team Taylor had.

    How good was Sobers? Was he happy with drawing Test Matches considering in his 39 matches in charge he had 20 draws.
    Eh?

    Waugh: 57 matches, 41 wins, 7 draws, 9 losses.

    Ponting: 56 matches, 38 wins, 9 draws, 9 losses

    From that statement i got the impression Ponting's record was better.

    Maybe it would be interesting to see their ODI records, where i'd tend to rate Ponting much higher tactically.

    Waugh: 67 wins, 35 losses.

    Ponting: 134 wins, 39 losses

    That's, quite surprisingly, a complete ass-kicking for Waugh in the shorter format.

  3. #33
    Cricketer Of The Year The Sean's Avatar
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    Disappointed - though not overly surprised - by the lack of love for Joe Darling. He'd be a strong contender for my top 10 and I'd actually have him ahead of The Big Ship personally, despite Armstrong's unbeaten record.
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  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Sean View Post
    Disappointed - though not overly surprised - by the lack of love for Joe Darling. He'd be a strong contender for my top 10 and I'd actually have him ahead of The Big Ship personally, despite Armstrong's unbeaten record.
    For me it was a toss up between Armstrong and Joe Darling. Ideally, I may have preferred someone even better than both of them. Noble was a better captain than both.

    Another captain we all seem to have forgotten is John Goddard of West Indies for 22 Tests from 1948 to 1957.

    Goddard for West Indies and Tiger Pataudi for India represent turning points in the cricketing history of these sides. Its interesting to see how India and West Indies fared before and during the captaincy of these two men.

    Code:
    Captaincy          	Played	Win(%)	Loss(%)	Draw(%)
    
    India before Pataudi	79	10	39	51
    India under Pataudi	40	23	48	30
    
    Windies till Goddard	24	17	50	33
    Windies under Goddard	22	36	32	32
    Its very interesting to compare the figures.

    • Both of them more than doubled the win percentage of their sides.
    • West Indies strength, particularly the very strong batting represented by the three 'W's, Sobers and company meant they lost fewer matches too bringing down their loss percentage too.
    • India were still a relatively weak side but Pataudi's aggressive captaincy brought them wins and much more prominently cut down the defensive streak of Indian cricket. This has resulted in the huge reduction in the proportion of draws. This is a direct reflection on Pataudi's aggressive style.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Uppercut View Post
    Eh?

    Waugh: 57 matches, 41 wins, 7 draws, 9 losses.

    Ponting: 56 matches, 38 wins, 9 draws, 9 losses

    From that statement i got the impression Ponting's record was better.

    Maybe it would be interesting to see their ODI records, where i'd tend to rate Ponting much higher tactically.

    Waugh: 67 wins, 35 losses.

    Ponting: 134 wins, 39 losses

    That's, quite surprisingly, a complete ass-kicking for Waugh in the shorter format.
    Ponting's ODI side was considerably stronger than Waugh's though.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by oitoitoi View Post
    Ponting's ODI side was considerably stronger than Waugh's though.
    Yeah you could definitely say that, but it's a bit of chicken and egg because we don't know to what extent its superiority was down to Ponting. I just found the extent to which Ponting's record is better surprising.

  7. #37
    SJS
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Sean View Post
    Disappointed - though not overly surprised - by the lack of love for Joe Darling. He'd be a strong contender for my top 10 and I'd actually have him ahead of The Big Ship personally, despite Armstrong's unbeaten record.
    There is a lovely little book by A A Thomson Cricket:The Great Captains. In the chapter on Australian Captains he includes :
    • Murdoch,
    • Noble,
    • Bradman and
    • Benaud.


    When writing on Noble he comments on both Armstrong and Darling.

    Of all the Australian leaders before Bradman, the most formidable was W W Armstrong, that great whale of a man, who played in forty-two Tests and won eight of the ten in which he was captain. He was a punishing right hand batsman given ti high scores, a cunning slow bowler and one of the earliest exponents of leg-theory; he was also a relentless foe with a sardonic manner, which he displayed when he was seen reading a newspaper in the field at the Oval during the last of the 1921 series in which England proved rather feeble opponents. 'I was looking,' he said, ' to see if there was any cricket going on anywhere.'

    The most famous captain of the generation before mine was Joe Darling, the rugged blue-eyed left hander, whom my step-uncle Walter thought of as the devil incarnate because, although Hirst and Rhodes got his team out for 36, and Hirst and Rhodes did the job for 23, Darling's men still won the rubber. Darling played in thirty-four Tests and led his countrymen in eighteen of them, spread over four series, three of them in England. Of these, the 1902 rubber, the result of which so annoyed my uncle Walter, was crowned for Darling with bright success, but that of 1905 was, of course, Jackson's rubber and anyone of less indestructible fiber would have broken down under the strain of Jackson's luck. Darling did not breakdown but no doubt he felt from that moment that farming in Tasmania would be more rewarding than tossing with Jackson. . .


    Thomson's book has an interesting format. The chapters are divided by names which suggest captaincy styles of the twenty who are included in the book. It is quite revealing.

    The Luck Bearers
    1. FS Jackson
    2. PF Warner
    3. APF Chapman

    Under Fortune's Frown
    1. AC Maclaren
    2. JWHT Douglas
    3. NWD Yardley

    Method and Perseverance
    1. WG Grace
    2. Len Hutton
    3. PBH May

    The Enigma
    1. Ted Dexter

    Australia Will Be There
    1. WL Murdoch
    2. MA Noble
    3. DG Bradman
    4. Richie Benaud

    About The Commonwealth
    1. PW Sherwell
    2. HW Taylor
    3. JR Reid
    4. JD Goddard
    5. Pataudi (Jr)

    Portrait of a Gentleman
    1. FM Worrell

    In conclusion he writes :
    If I think, leaving WG Grace out of the argument, that Sir Donald Bradman was the greatest of all captains, with Richie Benaud his best-equipped Australian successor, I am entitled to believe too, that Sir Len Hutton has been incomparably England's greatest leader in post-war days. If too I think of Chapman as the "gayest", Warner as the most urbane, and MacLaren and Brown at the same time the most determined and the most unlucky, I still feel I have the right to cherish a favourite and that is FS Jackson, who defeated a stronger Australian side than many later MCC captains ever saw. After all, if you are your side's best batsman and their best bowler and you win the toss five times in a rubber, it would be an exacting critic who would ask for much more out of you.

    But there is one other, whose superb technical accomplishments do not stand higher than his gifts of leadership; who when captaining a touring team in Australia, was the best loved of all visiting captains, not excepting (even) Warner and Brown. When in the new year's honours of 1964 the queen bestowed the knighthood on the cricketer known all over the world as Frankie Worrell, an honour was done to cricket and to a great gentleman, who did not acquire the knightly qualities - courage, courtesy and the gift of leading - for the first time on that January morning. These gifts had been bestowed upon him at birth forty years before and were already developing in the eager boy who first played cricket in his native island of Barbados.

  8. #38
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    Another great book on the subject is an anthologu edited by John Arlott : Cricket : The Great Captains

    This has eight captains, not all of them Test captains, and are written about by their contemporaries. All eight are classic articles. Here are the eight listed.

    1. MacLaren Archie
    2. Warner Pelham
    3. Jardine Douglas
    4. Sellers Brian
    5. Wooller Wilfred
    6. Surridge Stuart
    7. Cheetham Jack
    8. Worrell Frank


    Its important to note that this book was first published in 1971 while Thomson's book was published in 1965. This should explain why both books do not go beyond Worrell and Dexter in their period covered.

  9. #39
    Global Moderator Fusion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bagapath View Post
    imran's claim to fame as captain was the fact that he led his team to victories in india and england. won the world cup. and captained three successive drawn series against west indies, the best team in the world of his time.

    saurav ganguly led india to a drawn series in england. but he did his lead his team to a victory in pakistan. and to a world cup final. he drew the series against australia in australia but won the home series 2-1, something imran could not achieve against west indies. so, if imran could be in any such list so can ganguly.

    but we are talking captaincy here. in all honesty, both are highly over-rated as captains. as individual cricketers imran was a legend whereas ganguly was merely good. despite this difference, somehow their similar aggressive attitude that united their teams is held, correctly, in their favor. but the fact remains that neither one was ever leading a world beating team, despite having some very fine cricketers in their teams, like a lloyd, waugh or ponting. they were merely adequate and their legend is big only when seen through the cultural prism. otherwise their achievements as skippers are nothing to crow about.

    viv richards, who never lost a test series as skipper and mark taylor who broke the west indian hegemony for close to two decades deserve to be on this list more than these two.
    To me, the measure of a good Captain is how well he united/inspired/led the team. The "Captain" is the leader of the team, and Imran was as good a leader of men as any that played the game. I would pretty much agree with Oitoitoi’s analysis of what he measures in a Captain. In that regard, I don’t possibly see how Imran could be overrated (or for that matter Ganguly). Did he not get the best out of his team; one that was famous for not living up to potential and working together? Did he not lead from the front as a Captain, contributing at least with the ball or bat, if not both? Did he not give the best team of his era a run for their money? I would be genuinely interested to know what measuring sticks you are using Bagapath, and also SJS if you happen to read my post.
    Last edited by Fusion; 05-06-2009 at 09:37 AM.

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion View Post
    To me, the measure of a good Captain is how well he united/inspired/led the team. The "Captain" is the leader of the team, and Imran was as good a leader of men as any that played the game. I would pretty much agree with Oitoitoiís analysis of what he measures in a Captain. In that regard, I donít possibly see how Imran could be overrated (or for that matter Ganguly). Did he not get the best out of his team; one that was famous for not living up to potential and working together? Did he not lead from the front as a Captain, contributing at least with the ball or bowl, if not both? Did he not give the best team of his era a run for their money? I would be genuinely interested to know what measuring sticks you are using Bagapath, and also SJS if you happen to read my post.
    I think Imran was a fabulous captain and leader of men easily the finest Pakistan has ever had and alongwith Tiger Pataudi on a very short list of great captains from the sub-continent. I dont put Ganguly on that list by the way irrespective of how much we love (or hate) the guy. I do not consider Ganguly a great student of the game. Aggression alone does not make a great captain. Ganguly was a very successful captain and the reasons for this were that he was captain during India's finest period of Indian batsmanship. That added to Kumble and Harbhajan and quite a remarkable (for India) string of young fast medium bowlers who may not have lasted but kept coming so that Kumble and Harbhajan were not left to do everything by themselves.

    He also benefitted from the fact that inspite of his many negatives, BCCI was led during this period by its finest (so far) President in Dalmia which made for a much more professional (to the extent it is possible in the murky world of the sub-continent) selectorial policies and much less interference in the captains job by the authorities (read BCCI etc).

    Pataudi and Imran were true leaders of men, great strategists, aggressive without being silly and churlish, strong and determined, great students of the game, completely apolitical, led relatively weak sides and had to operate in a terrible regime that was the BCCI and the PCB during there times. PCB hasn't improved much one's afraid.

    If Imran had a fault, it was that he was aloof and a bit unapproachable for his young team-mates. Pataudi, despite his family background, was less so and certainly those who came from lowly backgrounds as compared to him have written glowingly about his leadership. It may be true, however, that his closest friends were those who were better educated and more like-minded.

  11. #41
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    Stephen Fleming and Michael Vaughan are the top 2 of my watching era IMO.

    Other good captains like Steve Waugh had such an abundance of talent around him that pretty much anyone could create a winning team.

    Ricky Ponting is 1 of the worst captains I've seen.

    Imran was a fantastic captain, he didn't need to say anything and the team played for him. You can't buy that. Botham as great as he was split dressing rooms, Imran galvanised them.

    Kapil Dev is up thee too. I really like his captaincy and think that's the type of captain India need now.

    Mike Brearley is 1 of the best of all time for me. Sure, his batting didn't warrant being in the team but his captaincy did. There'd be a bunch of headless chickens on the field had he not been in charge.
    All-Time Test XI:
    Gavaskar, Boycott, Tendulkar, G.Pollock, V.Richards, Sobers, Gilchrist (wk), Warne (c), Waqar/Wasim, Lillee, Ambrose.

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    Global Moderator Fusion's Avatar
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    Thanks SJS for the reply. Itís interesting to read your comments on Pataudi. I must admit that my knowledge of him is limited. Iíll read up on him. From your analysis, it seems that you consider Imran to be a great Captain, but just that you consider at least 10 to be better. I have no qualms with that.

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trumpers_Ghost View Post
    Consider myself put in my place re his record. Am quite surprised, as I always was of the opinion he was a hack, but was never someone I considered worthy to actually check facts on. Stand by my colourful and somewhat derogetory rantings of his character however.

    Australia picked Harry "Bull" Alexander for the final test in 32/33 to bump a few down at England

    For me he has the last word on Jardine - speaking fifty years later he said of him

    "I hit him a few times at Sydney. He had blood coming out of his glove but he never flinched - he had a ton of it - what it takes"

    As Mr Z said he would be tickled pink with your reaction to him - he'd be doing again the "Indian war dance" that he did when Bill Bowes bowled Bradman for a duck in the second test

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    Quote Originally Posted by SJS View Post
    If Imran had a fault, it was that he was aloof and a bit unapproachable for his young team-mates.
    What is the basic premise for such an opinion or conclusion about Imran ? Has anyone of his team mates written about this ?

  15. #45
    SJS
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion View Post
    Thanks SJS for the reply. Itís interesting to read your comments on Pataudi. I must admit that my knowledge of him is limited. Iíll read up on him. From your analysis, it seems that you consider Imran to be a great Captain, but just that you consider at least 10 to be better. I have no qualms with that.
    You see the list I gave has only three captains (Brearley, Chappell and Fleming) from those I have actually seen. So when one is making an all time list then, considering that Test cricket had gone on for almost a hundred years before I started watching, there will have to be a very large number from those from before our times and for assessing these one has to rely upon 'second-hand' sources - from what one has read.

    Hence great captains like Imran and Pataudi are not on that list.

    If I was to make a list of those I have actually seen leading a side I might have Ian Chappell, Brearley, Fleming, Pataudi, Imran, Close, Illingworth, Border, Taylor, Ranatunga and Ashok Mankad although the last named did not lead a Test side.

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