The Role of the Cricket Captain

The Role of the Cricket Captain

The Role of the Cricket Captain is unlike other team sports like Football or Hockey. A Captain in Cricket is the most important person in the Team. Unlike Football, where the Captain only wears an arm band and goes for a Toss, while the game is run and controlled by the Coach from the sideline. Cricket in the contrary, Captain is the leader and the Coach acts as a support function. A Cricket Captain rallies his troops in the field and has absolute power to finalise strategies, collectively discussed in Team meetings with the leadership group including the Coach.

The Role of the Cricket Captain


Presented By : Raghunath Nair

Date :  20/06/2023

Note : This article will rely more on Test data than the limited format


Good Captain

Captain makes all the decisions on the field and makes educated spontaneous decisions as he sees appropriate according to the situation of the game.

How strong and effective those impromptu decisions are for the game makes for a Good Captain or a Great one.

Off the pitch, he plays a significant role in building strategies on the drawing board along with other think tanks of the team.

A Cricket Captain leads by example and is usually one of the best players in the team but there have been exceptions to this rule in Cricket history.


Who will be a Captain

Who will be a Captain

In an ideal scenario, Captains are selected based on many factors like individual performance, understanding of the game, their individual position in the team etc.

Captain is usually one of the experienced players in the team who can handle Seniors and Juniors with an equal yardstick. He has to act as a bridge between the coaching staff and the team. He represents the team as a whole and attends all media commitments.

Captain steers the flow of information from the Team and Coaching Staff.  He needs to inspire players in the team and be a leader who can be looked upon.

As the role requires people management skill, the Captain, needs to be an excellent communicator and not be an emotionally oversensitive personality.

The Captain may have to reinvent himself once he takes the leadership role and may not have the freedom to behave as a player in the team, this may hamper his image earlier viewed by his team-mates as a player and then as a Captain. This is helpful in the long run, as Captains may need to take tough calls in selection without getting emotional. A Captain should be a leader and act like one without being biased.

Captain has to be an excellent Man Manager and transparent in selection and planning with the team. During the course of a game, he will choose to send someone to bat or choose his bowlers according to what should be best for the team.

Role of a Vice Captain

A Vice-Captain in the team only acts as an assistant and Captain after reviewing all suggestions received needs to make the final call on any situation.  Captain does delegate certain responsibilities to the vice-Captain on a case-to-case basis.

Vice Captains are ideally Captain in waiting and learns from the Captain and this helps in installing leadership qualities and make him future ready to take up the reins when the opportunity arises. Vice Captain’s views are taken in tough situations in the game to get a new perspective of the situation at hand. They should be able to complement the Captain well during the game as effective stand-ins, in case the Captain is off the field.


Captain and the leadership qualities | Roles of the Captain…. Further explained    

Captain and the leadership qualities

How does the Captain speak? How does he project himself to the world? and how confident does he move around in the Cricket field? All this gives a sneak peek on the leadership quality of the Captain.  A laid-back Captain tends to create a laid-back team in the long run.

The consistency in which the Captain rewards and punishes his team members reflects directly in the quality of leadership and how teammates see the Captain as the leader of the

Lot of planning and strategies are discussed before a series start. Captain, Coaching staff  and Senior players discuss in detail on how to approach the game ahead. They then under the watchful eyes of the Captain and coaching staff work on these plans during the practice sessions to be fully prepared to execute their plans on match day.

Captain is responsible for selecting the playing eleven. On field, he decides the bowling order and the batting order. When to declare innings if required. Taking the use of DRS in dodgy decisions. He controls the pace at which the game progresses.

Eoin Morgan

Captains are gauged on their effectiveness and results they generate.

Sometimes Captains are given the free hand to shape the style of play the team should adopt like in the case of Eoin Morgan who became a successful England T20 Captain with a new brand of unconventional Cricket making them the reigning T20 World Champions.

Ben Stokes

Similarly, the current England Test Captain, Ben Stokes along with coach Brendon McCullum revolutionized Test Cricket with an aggressive brand of Cricket which the media coined as “BazBal Cricket”. While it is only 11-12 Test matches old, the results are quite encouraging with England Losing only 2 of their last 12 odd Test matches.

Ben Stokes has single-handedly revived the old glory of Test Match Cricket and made it exciting for even non-cricket lovers with its aggressive brand of cricket. whenever England plays a Test match now, it brings in the crowd

Captains make impromptu decisions which he may feel are required to move the game forward. It could be a change in bowling or change in batting line or a change in the field placements.

The captain is as good as his team…or is it?

Tim Paine

A great Captain can make an average team look like a million dollars while an Average Captain may still be successful if he has a great team but only for a short term.

For Example, Tim Paine was brought into the Australian eleven to Captain the side due to the suspension of Steve Smith (Captain) and David Warner ( Vice Captain) in the sandpapergate controversy.  With no captaincy backup, Test discard, Tim Paine was inducted into the team as a player and as a Captain.

Australia won under Tim Paine on the quality of the Australian side alone. But this was short-lived as the Australian team under weak leadership saw its worst decline in the modern era.  Tim Paine lost Captaincy and also his place in the side. Australia named Pat Cummins as Captain.


Steve Wagh

Graeme Smith won the most Test Matches (53) but also lost the most (29) while Alan Border drew the most Test matches (39)

Steve Wagh has the highest win ratio as Captain with 72%

Mike Gatting has the highest draw ratio

While Alister Campbell of Zimbabwe has the dubious record for Captain with most loss


Captain who transformed their teams

Captain who transformed their teams

India’s Saurav Ganguly will qualify as one of the all-time greats as Captain who took over leadership of a weak and lackluster Indian team and improved the team’s performance by 200%.

Ms Dhoni in IPL and for Indian Team in limited Overs:

In the recently concluded Indian Premier League 2023 (IPL), an average Chennai team became a dangerous side under the leadership of M.S. Dhoni who led the side well and became champions of the Indian Premier League for the 5th Time becoming one of the most successful teams in the IPL.



Mike Brearley

A Great Batsman need not be a great Captain and Vice Vice Versa

Two Modern Greats in Test matches, Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara both failed as Captains

In contrast, Mike Brearley was one player in Cricket history who was selected in the team purely for his Captaincy competence. His batting record for England was inadequate but his inclusion in the team was well worth the risk.

Mike Brearley brought the best out of his fast bowlers, Bob Willis and Ian Botham. His People skills helped great players like Ian Botham to restore lost form to become one of the world’s best all-rounder.


Ricky Ponting and Clive Lloyd – Best of the Best – Supersports360 pick

No article will be complete if we do not talk about 2 great Captains the world has ever seen

Ricky Ponting:  

Ricky PontingRicky Ponting will go down in the history books as the most successful captain in Test and in ODI.

His winning percentage as a skipper in Tests is 62%, while his winning percentage in ODIs is 77%.

As a player, Ponting is the only Cricketer in history to be involved in 100 Test victories and 262 wins in ODI


Clive Lloyd: Clive Lloyd captained the West Indies between 1974 and 1985 and made the West Indies team, the greatest team in Test and ODI of the 20th century.Clive Lloyd

One of Clive Lloyd’s biggest successes was getting together individuals from various Caribbean countries for the sole purpose of becoming the best Cricket team. His Man management skill helped him to bring all the diverse cultures and made it into a cohesive unit.

Ben Stokes – The current most Innovative Captain – Supersports pick


Ben Stokes

On a dead flat wicket of Rawalpindi, Ben Stokes and the England team played an aggressive brand of Cricket and scored 6.5 to 7 runs an over and sportingly declared on the 4th day even risking a loss if Pakistan chases the total. Pakistan fell short by 74 runs giving England a famous win

As mentioned in our earlier article, Test cricket was losing its fan base to the shorter format of the game. Ben Stokes and Bazball has given Test cricket a new lease of Life.

Also read…

Bazball At It Again


There have been great Captains in the history of the game, who have been torch-bearers of this century-old game called Cricket

Unlike other sports, Captain in Cricket plays a huge role when the team is against a tough opponent or equally matched teams.

Captain needs to qualify as a great Man-manager, taskmaster and above all a Great Ambassador for the game.

A successful Captain is a great tactician and often walks through the risk to reach a higher goal.

Captain’s conduct directly affects how the team also acts on and off the field hence needs to be an ideal role model in the team.

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