How to Be a Good Cricket Captain

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Like liberty, good cricket captaincy requires eternal vigilance. The game is a minefield of tactical decisions, from the first ball bowled to the winning runs scored. When fielding, you, the captain, make decisions constantly. As Julian Knight says in "Cricket for Dummies," "every delivery is a game within a game." When your side is batting, you are always involved, either at the crease or on the sidelines, encouraging or admonishing as required. Your duties begin well before the game and carry on long after it's over.

Things You'll Need

  • The Laws of Cricket

Good Captaincy

  • Prepare well. Select a well-balanced side, a good mix of batsmen and bowlers, with a wicketkeeper who's also a good batsman. As captain you are the selector as well, except at the highest levels of the game. Know your players' strengths and weaknesses so you can make decisions on, for example, when to change bowlers, how to set fields, who to position where and the batting order. Do most preparation before the game. Know the many Laws of Cricket intimately.

  • Stand a little apart from the team, like any good boss. You will need to make tough decisions about your players.

  • Select the 12th man, the substitute/emergency fielder, well before the game, to remove all questions in the players' minds.

  • Win the toss and you have another decision, to bat or bowl or first. A good captain will assess the state of the pitch and weather conditions. For example overcast conditions will help fast bowlers swing the ball, so you will consider bowling first. But if the wicket looks likely to take spin, you will not want to bat last.

  • Communicate with your batsmen at all times. As a good captain you will make intentions clear throughout your side's innings. You'll probably have a word with every batsman as they start their turn at bat and on their return. You'll tell them when to attack and when to keep defending, often by signals from the sidelines. If the side bats well, you will have to decide when to "declare the innings closed."

  • When fielding you must decide when to rest bowlers, when to tell others to start warming up. You will set intelligent fields, reflecting the condition of the game. i.e. attacking at the start with many close fielders, defending when the opposition becomes aggressive. You can alter fielding positions ball-by-ball. And you must do it all with respect for the players. Listen to the players' opinions too.

  • Be ready for the customary after-match function speech, which should praise the opposition, thank the catering and congratulate winners and special performances, from whichever side.

Tips & Warnings

  • Prepare a brief press reports, communicate with local media or give interviews after the game.
  • Be aggressive when a new batsman comes to bat--when they are most vulnerable.
  • Be honest with players who do not merit selection.
  • Never be greedy and give yourself a spell of bowling when the situation does not warrant it.
  • Don't berate the players when they are most vulnerable--in the dressing room after a loss.
  • Don't select players just because they are friends.

References

  • Cricket for Dummies, Julian Knight, 2006
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