Profile of an ODI Captain

March 5, 2016 | By


Profile of an ODI Captain

By Azhar Hameed

It has been a while since I wrote something on Pakistan cricket but the recent ODI and T-20

series defeat against England prompted me to analyze what exactly went wrong. The shambolic

performances cruelly exposed Pakistan’s vulnerabilities in various aspects but none more than

the men leading their respective sides. Since Afridi has already pre-announced his retirement

after the T-20 World Cup being held early 2106 therefore objectively speaking it would be futile

to comment on his captaincy competencies as he would be leading the Pakistan side in any case

barring of course any injury scares.

So I will keep my focus on the ODI captaincy. Nowadays there is so much of cricket being

played throughout the year that even the domestic T-20 tournaments carry an international flavor

i.e. Indian Premier League, Big Bash League, Caribbean League and now the Pakistan Super

League to be held early next year. Gone are the days where we would see a number of practice

matches being played by visiting teams before they took on the host teams for Test and ODI

series. Exceptions aside this basically means the cricket boards and their administrators have far

less time to groom players especially for captaincy. Generally there are two ways of going about

it, either appoint a captain and then select the team or select a team and then choose a captain

which is in fact the Aussie style of appointing a captain.

Given the brand of modern day ODI cricket being played at present, the profile of a captain has

to have atleast five key elements which I attribute as core competencies to lead a side. First and

foremost, a captain has to be an established player who contributes through his performances.

Secondly, he needs to be aggressive and should have the risk taking ability when faced up with

tight situations. Thirdly, he should be thoughtful and clear headed in his on field tactical

decisions. Fourthly, he must know how to get the best out of his playing eleven. And finally he

must command the respect of his team. One may argue over additional competencies too but I

sincerely believe that these five core competencies are bare essentials for a good captaincy role.

I am mindful of the fact that the success criterion for any captain is primarily based on the

win/loss ratio and even most of the successful captains would lose matches on a given day. And

at the same time the relative strength of any team in terms of its quality of players’ vis-à-vis

others may also be a deciding factor e.g. An Australian team versus a Bangladeshi team no

matter how good a captain the Bangladeshi team has. However, my point is that a good captain

would always have that what it takes to win against a stronger opposition with a weaker side as

compared to a bad captain who would often make a good side look a mediocre one against an

opposition relatively of the same strength.

I have followed Azhar Ali as a player since his international debut. He comes across as a fine

gentleman with an amiable personality. I know its early days for his baptism into ODI captaincy

and to be fair it would be a bit harsh to analyze his role as a captain in the recent series but may

be if we want to groom him into a potentially good captain than let’s just have a cursory glance

as to how Azhar matches up with the five core competencies as enumerated above. Firstly, he

has been drafted as a make shift opener and was unable to contribute significantly as an opening

batsman. Secondly, he came across as a docile character and at times was hesitant to take an

aggressive approach when the situation demanded. Thirdly, his tactical maneuvers were found

wanting whenever English team got the better of him. Fourthly, he appeared to be a lost soul

when it came to pushing his players to give their best when the situation demanded. On the final

competency, he generally seems to command the respect of his team mates but this aspect could

only be assessed over a longer period of time.

It is always never too late to make a change for the better but before doing this the PCB, the

selection committee and the Head Coach must decide and agree on the basic profile of an ODI

captain without which players like Azhar Ali would be picked and even before being really

groomed for captaincy would be discarded into oblivion for no fault of theirs or perhaps they

were never the right choice in the first place.

Share This News:




    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop