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Captaincy; how important is it?

AlanJLegend

U19 Vice-Captain
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.
 

BoyBrumby

Englishman
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. :ph34r:

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.
 

G.I.Joe

International Coach
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. :ph34r:

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. :smartass:
 

BoyBrumby

Englishman
Considering the rain at Chennai and the injuries and board politics, typo clearly more appropriate than what you actually intended, BB. :smartass:
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. :ph34r:
 

Hurricane

Hall of Fame Member
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.
 

wpdavid

International Coach
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.
 

Athlai

Not Terrible
Smith vs. Border vs. Sangakkara vs. Crowe vs. Abbas vs.. Gavaskar vs. S Pollock

Discuss
 

Ikki

Hall of Fame Member
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. :ph34r:
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.
 

Jakester1288

International Regular
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.
 

Furball

Evil Scotsman
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?
 

Furball

Evil Scotsman
They were older when they played under Ponting.
True.

I think the most interesting numbers are actually Warne's, given what Warne thought of Waugh and Ponting respectively. Perhaps Ponting was more able to get the best out of Warne for whatever reason, in the same way that perhaps Waugh got the best out of McGrath, Gillespie, Gilchrist, Martyn and Hayden?
 
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Son Of Coco

Hall of Fame Member
Think it's very important. Regardless of talent a good captain can get a lot more out of his players and make more happen than a poor one. You see it at all levels.
 

slippyslip

U19 12th Man
Suppose you could point to the 1981 Ashes series as an example of the importantance of captaincy.

From different quotes, stories, stats, results etc my own opinion is that the difference between a bad captain and an average is greater than that between an average and a good captain.

And I guess the influence of a captain (good or bad) can vary from player to player. Maybe someone like Michael Hussey isnt as impacted by the captain than someone like Shane Watson.

Unfortunately you dont get a lot of comments and opinions form former players of their former captains. Sure, there is some - usually when theres bad blood between each other but there isnt a whole lot fo interesting or constructive analysis.
 

Faisal1985

International Vice-Captain
Captaincy is a big part of cricket. To me SCG Test of Pak v Aus is a great example of what bad captaincy can do....
 

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