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Basic Fundas Of Captaincy : The Qualities that make a good Cricket Captain

Hello to all the Cricketfundas.com’s readers. In this chapter, I am going to talk about the Basic Fundas of Captaincy. I really hope that this article is very useful for all those budding cricketers and any queries on this topic are going to be answered by me. Email your queries to our editor at bvswagath@yahoo.com .

A cricket captain is born and not made. At whatever level you play, the natural gift of leadership has to be complemented with a sound knowledge about Cricket. And this knowledge about Cricket includes all the Technical and Psychological aspects, reading of pitches, using of rollers, the laws of the game and people these can be only gained through dedication and a genuine love for Cricket.

A successful Captain is versatile and he needs to have the patience of a saint, the diplomacy of an ambassador and the skin of a Rhino! He has to have all the bundles of enthusiasm to keep his team mates going in all kinds of situations, have an insight of a psychologist and the smooth talking style of a con-man. You got to be the proverbial Jack of All Trades and hopefully master of some.

A Captain must possess the following qualities and characteristics:

• The Skipper of a side has to be really as cool as a cucumber and should be someone who isn’t prone to panic under pressure. After all his team mates would be looking up to him for his support during the pressure cooker situations. With the demands of a fast paced game where fortunes fluctuate between the two sides within the span of few deliveries, a captain having a cool temperament is all the more vital.

• Problems should be thought over logically, both on and off the field.

• A good captain is a good judge of the characters of his players. He needs to know how to get the best out of his mates and how to exploit the feasibilities and shortcomings of his opponents.

• On the field it is of prime importance that the captain is good in assessing a batsman’s strength and weakness. And based on that he can use the bowlers who he thinks can trouble that particular batsman and give him the results. Accordingly he can also rotate his bowlers cleverly.

• As in any battle, there are valid tactical reasons to attack, defend and retreat. Never be afraid to attack the strength of the man at the crease and set him a trap to get him out. The same shot which gives a particular batsman lot of runs can sometimes also turn out to be his downfall! Isn’t it?

• A Captain must know his team foibles and failings, not all players are the same! Each has his own unique personality and each person might have to be dealt in a different manner from the other. Different players react in different ways in the same situation and respond to different treatment by the captain. Some give their best after being hurt by forcibly expressed criticism, while you can nag to get the best out of some players, others might need that gentle encouragement. To sum it up a few harsh words or a few words of expressing confidence and encouragement to the players to get them to their best and yes it depends on the individual whether you go for the harsh words or words of encouragement.

• Having talked about all the above points, it is also important for a captain to have the ability and the wisdom in reading the wicket. Only after reading the wicket properly that he can decide whether to bat first or bowl first and then plan up the strategy of what kind of bowling composition would be suitable on the kind of wicket given. And I tell you people, reading a wicket is not an easy task at all!

• The ideal temperament of a captain is difficult to say, but an extrovert always has an advantage over the introvert. He must be able to mix up with his team mates comfortably and mingle with them in a relaxed environment. The natural loner finds this extremely hard.

Everything said and done, there are two options for a player to become a captain. Number one is that the captain should be worth his place in the side i.e. he should be a better player or number two is to be a born leader who can inspire others by his firmness and general will to win. The man in charge needs to have the talent to go with the ability to inspire. A man who handles his team well and who has the knack of reading a game quickly and accurately can certainly be valuable.

Now the question arises – who will be a better captain? Would it be a batsman or a bowler or a wicket keeper? We have mostly seen batsmen being captains, we have also seen fast bowlers like Imran Khan, Kapil Dev, Walsh, Wasim and others being captains and also wicket keepers like Moin Khan, Tatenda Taibu, Andy Flower, Rashid Latif and others taking the responsibility. Well well… it doesn’t matter really as every kind of player whether he is a pure batsman, an all rounder or a pure bowler or a wicket keeper…everyone will have their advantages. The fact is that a cricketer who plans and thinks better at different situations and makes it easier for his team and thus leading the side effectively is a good captain.

Any successful captain has to be a bit Napoleon. Remember that matches are often won or lost by a side’s performance on the field. Captains must be like Gardeners, always giving that extra bit of attention to the plant that is struggling to establish itself. Each variety of bowlers needs a specialized care. Talented strike bowlers need to be nurtured carefully. Spinners are sensitive cricketers basically and they need the utmost considerations. Slow bowlers indeed require time to develop their craft. There will be a time of frustration every now and then when you are in the field but the captain has to ceaselessly contemplate ways to break through. Captains’ contributions to the game are immense.

Napoleon said, “I like to be in the army of lions led by a goat rather than be in the army of goats and led by a lion.”

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