The role of the captain in cricket is vital and while the captain in other sports, such as football and rugby are important, the role is much less demanding than in the sport of cricket.
A cricket captain not only needs to motivate and inspire the team, he/she is also responsible for many of the decisions which take place during a game. The manager of a football or rugby team decides tactics whereas in cricket, the captain must make important decisions during the match itself.
One of the main qualities that make a great cricket captain is leadership. The captain of any sports team must be comfortable in organising groups of people and cannot be afraid to make a decision when it is required.
The decision may not be popular among all the players but it is the captain’s job to make the tough calls and live with the consequences. At amateur cricket level, one captain may decide to always pick what he/she feels is the strongest team whereas another may choose to give every player a game as often as possible, regardless of the result.
These are two different approaches to leadership but the captain has to plan and follow their own principles. That doesn’t mean a good cricket captain does not listen because taking notes about what players are saying and their body language plays a huge role in making team decisions.
Listening to player concerns and ideas, analysing them and acting where appropriate is a quality, which makes a great cricket captain.
Keeping calm under pressure is a must for a good cricket captain. If players see their captain losing control on the field or in the dressing room, they will begin to feel uncomfortable. Players look towards a cricket captain as someone who has a cool temperament and a person they can turn to at crucial times of a match.
A thorough understanding of the sport is fundamental when captaining a cricket team. Some tactics will be discussed with the coaches before the match but once on the field of play, it is up to the captain to make the big calls.
Setting the field is a huge part of cricket and a great captain will know every position by name and the purpose of having a player in that position. Different situations in games call for different field placings and this is where a top cricket captain comes into his own. Knowing how to position a field to get a batsman out or to reduce the run rate is hugely important.
Finally, a cricket captain must know the strengths and weaknesses of his/her own players. One bowler may respond well when asked to bowl in a pressure situation whereas others will not. Furthermore, not every player accepts criticism well and judging how to speak to players individually will have a big impact on how they perform during the match.
Article by Daniel Price