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Thread: Captaincy; how important is it?

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    Captaincy; how important is it?

    I was browsing Wikipedia and I happened to notice, Australia have had 5 test cricket captains in the last 25 years (one of them being Gilchrist who doesn't really count, so only 4 really). There are many teams (eg. England, Pakistan) who have shuffled through this many leaders in the past 5 years or so.

    It begs the question, how important is the role of the captain? For as long as I can remember (and no doubt long before that) Australia has had a culture/tradition of appointing a leader who has been nurtured for the position for years and having them hold the captaincy until their retirement (btw we are talking test cricket, not a case of Clarke or Collingwood becoming T20 captains). Do you believe this culture has a lot to do with Australia's dominance over the last couple of decades?. Is this the best way to go about captaincy, or should it be more of a 'right-man-for-the-job-at-the-time' affair? Would it be suitible for test cricket teams to implement a captaincy rotation policy (as some teams in the AFL do and no doubt teams in other sports)?

    Discuss.

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    Englishman BoyBrumby's Avatar
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    As Gilly was the bloke who managed what none of the others could (that illusive win in India) I reckon it's harsh to say he doesn't really count.

    Captaincy is probably more important in cricket than in any other sport because, when fielding, a lot of what goes on is down to the bloke in charge. If his bowlers than bowl pus or his fielders catch like drains there's not a lot he can do about it, but stuff like fielding positions and bowling changes are massive in the sport and they're his call.

    I think rank bad captaincy is often more noticeable than good skippering sometimes; Shakib's decision in the 2nd test versus England not to give his strike bowler any close catchers at all with a lead still in excess of 300 was just gutless and got what it deserved & ditto Ponting's hideous call to bowl part-timers to save himself a ban for slow over rates. He should've gone for that, IMHO.
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    International Coach G.I.Joe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoyBrumby View Post
    As Gilly was the bloke who managed what none of the others could (that illusive win in India) I reckon it's harsh to say he doesn't really count.

    Captaincy is probably more important in cricket than in any other sport because, when fielding, a lot of what goes on is down to the bloke in charge. If his bowlers than bowl pus or his fielders catch like drains there's not a lot he can do about it, but stuff like fielding positions and bowling changes are massive in the sport and they're his call.

    I think rank bad captaincy is often more noticeable than good skippering sometimes; Shakib's decision in the 2nd test versus England not to give his strike bowler any close catchers at all with a lead still in excess of 300 was just gutless and got what it deserved & ditto Ponting's hideous call to bowl part-timers to save himself a ban for slow over rates. He should've gone for that, IMHO.
    Considering the rain at Chennai and the injuries and board politics, typo clearly more appropriate than what you actually intended, BB.
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    Englishman BoyBrumby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by G.I.Joe View Post
    Considering the rain at Chennai and the injuries and board politics, typo clearly more appropriate than what you actually intended, BB.
    You're very kind calling my phonetic rendering (in my yokel accent anyway) of "elusive" a typo, tbh. Illiteracy closer to the mark. Or eluteracy.


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    Cricketer Of The Year Hurricane's Avatar
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    How much influence does the captain have and how much of a difference do they make.

    New Zealand in the 80s started with the very astute captain Geoff Howarth and then moved on to the likes of Jeff Crowe and Jeremy Coney

    Geoff Howarth - 11 wins 7 loss 12 draws
    Coney 5 4 and 6
    Jeff Crowe 0 1 5
    John Wright 3 3 8

    From this you could argue that the most astute captain Howarth had the best record. But the sample sizes are small so you have to use caution. What I find more interesting is that the following three captains Coney Crowe and Wright had similar records with similar quality teams. But again small sample sizes.
    By memory Hadlee played the same for all of these captains and didn't require much motivation. In fact he continued to perform when he wasn't even speaking to Coney. You can taste the disrepect Hadlee had for Coney in one of Hadlee's books.

    I am not going to talk about the importance of tactics and plans - and field settings as I am sure that others will make these points.

    I do think that a captain needs to contribute and needs to lead the team through his own performace. I think that Ricky Ponting can contribute more to his team through scoring a century than he can through clever tactics. The disclaimer to this is that he could hurt the team through appalling tactics and undo the impact of his century if he was inept with tactics.

    Perhaps there is a difference between a very good captain and a regular captain. In Botham's book I am reading he speaks highly of Mike Brearly. Botham credits victories to the impact of him.

    In terms of getting off the fence and having a position. I think that an astute captain can make a big difference. But I think most players have average captaincy skills and therefore whether you pick one player or another to be captain doesn't matter too much PROVIDED that player performs with the bat and ball themselves and PROVIDED that the new captain is indeed solid/average tactically. IE is not a boob.

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    Cricketer Of The Year wpdavid's Avatar
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    Agree with the previous post. As long as the captain's competence is above a certain minimum threshold, he probably doesn't make much difference most of the time. I can easily think of a few guys whose credentials are massively overstated simply because they competently managed extremely talented bunches of players (Lloyd, Richards & Waugh spring to mind fairly rapidly). Likewise, several England skippers have been unfairly criticised for failing to make silk purses out of sows' ears. The significant guys are those whose captaincy somehow 'added value' to their team, enabling them to achieve more than the sum of their parts. There's not very many of them, imo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoyBrumby View Post
    You're very kind calling my phonetic rendering (in my yokel accent anyway) of "elusive" a typo, tbh. Illiteracy closer to the mark. Or eluteracy.
    This happens to me so regularly these days. I just type as I think the words and often I am typing homophones or something close.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoyBrumby View Post
    Captaincy is probably more important in cricket than in any other sport because, when fielding, a lot of what goes on is down to the bloke in charge. If his bowlers than bowl pus or his fielders catch like drains there's not a lot he can do about it, but stuff like fielding positions and bowling changes are massive in the sport and they're his call.
    My thoughts exactly. A good captain manages his bowlers well and places fielders in the best possible position to take wickets and save runs, a poor captain can leak runs, miss wicket taking opportunities etc from doing this far less efficiently.

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    Hall of Fame Member Furball's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wpdavid View Post
    Agree with the previous post. As long as the captain's competence is above a certain minimum threshold, he probably doesn't make much difference most of the time. I can easily think of a few guys whose credentials are massively overstated simply because they competently managed extremely talented bunches of players (Lloyd, Richards & Waugh spring to mind fairly rapidly). Likewise, several England skippers have been unfairly criticised for failing to make silk purses out of sows' ears. The significant guys are those whose captaincy somehow 'added value' to their team, enabling them to achieve more than the sum of their parts. There's not very many of them, imo.
    Guys like Hayden and Gilchrist were FAR more prolific under Steve Waugh than under Ponting.

    How much of that was just coincidence/good form, and how much of that was down to Waugh being able to get an extra 10% out of his players that Ponting couldn't?

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    State Regular Maximus0723's Avatar
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    Not important if you got gg team.
    Greatest Test XI::: S Gavaskar, M Hayden, D Bradman*, S Tendulkar, A Border, G Sobers, A Gilchrist, I Khan, S Warne, M Marshall, G McGrath
    Reserves: B Richards, V Richards, A Knott, M Muralitharan

    Greatest ODI XI::: A Gilchrist, S Tendulkar, R Ponting*, V Richards, M Dhoni, M Bevan, S Pollock, W Akram, S Warne, J Garner, M Muralitharan, A Donald
    Reserves: A deVilliars, B Lara, R Hadlee, S Warne

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    Hall of Fame Member Furball's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maximus0723 View Post
    Not important if you got gg team.
    It's too easy to write off guys like Waugh and Richards by saying "yeah, but they had all time great teams, a cow could have won 16 Tests in a row with Waugh's team."

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    Hall of Fame Member Furball's Avatar
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    Batsmen and Bowlers under Waugh:

    Batting records | Test matches | Cricinfo Statsguru | Cricinfo.com

    Bowling records | Test matches | Cricinfo Statsguru | Cricinfo.com

    Under Ponting:

    Batting records | Test matches | Cricinfo Statsguru | Cricinfo.com

    Bowling records | Test matches | Cricinfo Statsguru | Cricinfo.com

    My head hurts far too much to look at those numbers and attempt to draw any serious conclusions. But there's a couple of interesting ones.

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    International Coach G.I.Joe's Avatar
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    They were older when they played under Ponting.

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