Who will be the champion Captain of 2003
Report by Rathnavel Ponnusamy
29 June, 2002
What is the difference between a circus lion and a wild lion? The ringmaster, of course. It is the ringmaster who proves instrumental in making an unassuming utility of the wandering wild animal.
A captain of a cricket team is similar to a ringmaster and he has to make the most of his crew, be they flooded with myopic minnows or vintage veterans.
It is my view that no other team sport say basketball, volleyball, soccer does a captain encounter as many atrocities, attention and authority as in cricket. It is a tumultuous task to be a successful captain to coach, players, board and the fans. As Richie Bernard penned it up “Captaincy is about 90% talent and 10% luck. But for Gods sake don’t try it out without that 10% luck”
The past seven World Cups have been excellent examples for the imminent importance of a charismatic captain to notch a powerful performance.
Clive Lloyd led his swashbuckling sides to victory in the earliest editions of 1975 and 1979. His captain’s knock in 1975 World Cup, ability to extract the best out of his players like Joel Garner, Andy Roberts, Vivian Richards and Gordon Greenidge proved pivotal in deciding the first two World Cups in the Caribbean's favour.
When it was 1983, Kapil's laudable leadership lifted the Indian spirits to a high that they defied the Windies an honourable hattrick of triumphs and thereby supercedingly script one of sport’ major upsets. Kapil shone all-round, be it the unforgettable 175 not out against Zimbabwe, his brilliant bowling against England in the semis, not to forget his Cup winning catch of Vivian Richards in the final. Kapil lead firmly from the front and this fittingly forced the players to perseveringly play to their maximum merit.
The 1987 Aussies miraculous comeback straight from the brink of elimination was due to the fabulous faith the players had in Border and the vice versa. The Border bolstered Aussies didn’t look the same after the deciding match and marvellously marched to clinch the Reliance Trophy in style.
Imran Khan is probably the best champion captain. If this great all rounder could bring the side to a vociferous victory from nowhere, it should be attributed to his leadership qualities. His players saw him as an immaculate idol rather than a correct captain, and such a rich respect is indeed an applausive achievement.
Arjuna Ranatunga also enjoyed a similar status of being held in a very high esteem by his mates. Arjuna’s affection towards his mates and his cucumber cool nature saw the Lankinese emerge as super power in 1996.
Five years later it was the ice cool Steve Waugh, his experience in handling critical situations and the faith in Shane Warne saw the Aussies sealing their second World Cup after a series of roller coasters.
It is indeed a fact that captains of World Cup have played a major role in shaping their side towards the destiny.
This explains the need to perfectly ponder upon the various captains of the World Cup playing nations then ambitiously arrive at a captain and his chances of hitting the bulls-eye in this century's first Cup edition. Leaving the qualifiers out, this article would articulate on the captains of Test playing Nations.
In Akram Khan, Aminul Islam and Naimur Rehman, Bangladesh have three-captaincy material. Naimur Rehman has been the most successful of the three & he has to persist if Bangladesh need to repeat an odd victory or go ahead.
It’s a hard task to keep track of Zimbabwe captains for the past two years and if this situation continues Zimbabwe will have an early exit. The Zimbabwean authorities and players should immediately address the issues of captaincy, for the benefit of the nation.
New Zealand's Fleming has been a hardworking captain, who lacks in charisma and the 10% luck. His inability to lift the performance of his side which has talents in the name of Nathan Astle, Mathew Sinclair, Scott Styris, Craig McMillan, Daniel Vettori etc has consistently been a concern to the Back Caps. The Kiwis also are devoid of an alternate captain with Craig McMillan & Chris Cairns all perfectly proving a futile failure. Fleming needs little more time & lots more of fortune.
Carl Hopper is in the process of rehabilitation and has been acclaimed to be instrumental in the revival of Chanderpaul, Gayle, Hinds, Dillon and Collins. It's too early to make a comment because its still uncertain whether these players have really come out of their shells or just thankfully thrived upon Indian generosity. In any circumstances Carl Hopper is the best bet for Windies desire to beat Aussies for the record of 3 World Cups
Pakistan is galore with leadership problems, thanks to the tainted relations between the authorities & players .The concerned people of Pakistan should rapidly resolve this issue. Pakistan is always a side with a matchless potential & only an astute leader can put this potential to playground. Waqar Younis may be good choice & if he tries to emulate Imran Khan, the World Cup doesn’t seem far away from Pakistan.
South Africa's Shaun Pollock is still to enlarge a leader of class of Ali Bacher, Kepler Wessels or the late Hansie Cronje .He has to concentrate on his leadership. In Jonty Rhodes, Lance Klusener & Gary Kirsten he has match winners.
Sanath Jayasuriya is similarly starving for leadership with talents in the form of Muralitharan and Jayawardena. Both the players have to work upon their leadership & take tips from a person like Nasser Hussain.
Nasser Hussain is perhaps the best captain around and England is really improving day by day in his leadership. Nasser is an example for the famous quote `A leader is not born, but made”. Nasser Hussain didn't come in as a English Captain with leadership all round him. He willingly worked hard on his captaincy, was very patient, reposed trust on the tiny talent and was very brave in taking the risks. Fortune indeed favoured the brave as Nasser Hussain comes in to your mind as a happy captain with performing side beside him.
Australia, surprisingly is clad with leadership vacuum. It was the stupidest decision to omit Steve Waugh out of ODI side. Even if Steve would not figure in to the side as a classical cricketer, there is no parallel to him as a consistent captain. Australia desperately needs Steve's cool like that one which won them an ODI series, 1-2 down after the heart braking testing loss to India. Ponting has had easy time & needs time to have hone his leadership skills. Then there is Gilchrist, the best thing to have happened to modern cricket in these modern times. Gilchrist, with his attitude, charm, charisma & global fan following is a charming captain for the future. But in the best interest of the Aussies to regain the Cup, Steve Waugh should be rapidly reinstated.
Last but not the least comes in “Dada”, Sourav Ganguly. Ganguly’s leadership has always generated differential views among the critics and fans. Sourav, terribly true to the quote “A caring leader produces caring boys” has taken chanceless care in players like Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh, Ashish Nehra, Virender Sehwag etc, and they remain the most loyal to their caring captain. Of course players like V.V.S. Laxman, Hemang Badani, Sarandeep Singh and Murali Kartik may think otherwise. This not withstanding Ganguly and his leadership techniques promises much for a fruitful future, despite being unarguabley untraditional. In Dravid, Tendulkar, and Kumble, he has seasoned seniors with superlative support and he proudly possesses a fleet of youngsters who look upon him as their big brother. Definitely Ganguly seems to be the best steward though he may not have the best ship.
A calculated comparison of team and individual strengths and weakness may rapidly reveal a totally different picture. From the captaincy analysis view, India, Australia and England seem to be the hot favourites to walk away with the titanic title.
Believe me, this amiable analysis may hold a ravishing reverence next February / March. After all it needs one man to lead eleven players to the pitch, on the pitch and away from the pitch.