What does it really take to make a great captain? – unplugged

What does it really take to make a great captain? – unplugged

5 minutes read
A good captain with a good Brain: (Samrat Darda)

No matter how strong a ship is, it is of no use unless it has a smart sailor. A team might look good on paper, with all its big names but, only a good captain will help that team win on a given day. Everyone remembers that in 2007, a team, out of no where and without any star players went on to win a World Cup only because of the skipper the team had. Obviously, there were star performers who helped the team win, but the captain was the unsung hero.

It is solely unto the captain to get the best or the worst out of the players and the game at large. This generation has seen captains like Ricky Ponting, Kumar Sangakkara, Graeme Smith and Mahendra Singh Dhoni himself. All these brilliant and innovative minds not only won matches for their team but also helped in the breeding a next generation of superstars. They didn’t just architect the team but made sure that they got the best out of every player while being passionate about the game.

Back in 2012, a young, talented and skilful batsman named Rohit Sharma came with a lot of promise but had no runs to back himself nor did he have the confidence to perform in matches. The captain however, had some other plans. He didn’t drop him. In fact, he selected him for the overseas tours and made sure that the hope in the batsman did not die on him. As a result, Rohit went on to become he only batsman to score two double tons in ODIs and went on to capture many records under his belt.

They say a bad captain can make a great team look ordinary. It’s just impossible to succeed as a team without a smart, brave, composed and innovative captain whereas a captain as good as he could be has the potential to lead the team to places when and where it’s needed.

Captaincy is not jut about the tactics, statistics or numbers. Captaincy is about being the glue for the team and to make everyone, along with himself, to work for the betterment of the team.

What does it take to make a great captain

A good team behind the Leader: (Mihir Vohra)

It doesn’t matter how strong the ship is unless it’s got a smart sailor to command it. But, it does help the case to have a strong ship, the case here being leading a team. Some great teams are remembered because an ordinary team was made great solely by the inspirational leadership of the captain. But again, in all of history, it has never hurt any leader having a great team behind him.
In fact, and it took some level of observation to come to this point, the greatest teams to have played the game over the years were trademarked by 1 common thing – all these teams were ‘teams’ and not led by some great or exceptional leader. Let me put 4 teams into perspective here:
Team 1: Don Bradman, Arthur Morris, Lindsay Hassett, Neil Harvey, Sid Barnes, Ray Lindwall, Keith Miller and Bill Johnson. (The Bradman’s Invincibles, as they were known, dominated the English in 1948 owing to exceptional Batting performances by Arthur Morris, Lindsay Hassett, Neil Harvey, Sid Barnes and Sir Bradman himself. Ray Lindwall, Keith Miller and Bill Johnson were fearsome fast bowlers. Together, they formed a lethal team.)
Team 2: Clive Lloyd, Vivian Richards, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Rohan Kanhai, Michael Holding, Joel Garner, Malcolm Marshall and Colin Croft. (The famous West Indies team of the ‘70s and the early ‘80s, Lloyd’s captaincy was on the back seat as he, along with Richards and Rohan Kanhai made a formidable middle order that followed inarguable the most successful opening pair of all time. The bowling was as lethal as apocalypse with the ‘four horsemen’, Holding, Garner, Marshall and Croft playing their roles.)
Team 3: Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting, Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, Michael Hussey, Damien Martyn, Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee and Shane Warne. (In what was called the Australia’s Golden Era, this team dominated the major part of the ‘90s and early 21st century. Each better than the other and perfectly suited for a particular role, this team was known for the depth in the quality of cricket and not for the exceptional leadership. One of the most lethal opening combination, world’s best spinner, 2 of the modern fast bowling greats and a man who scored tons of runs at number 3 are some of the things this ‘team’ boasted of.)
Team 4: Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, Ashwell Prince, A B de Villiers, Herschelle Gibbs, Mark Boucher, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Makhaya Ntini. (According to many, including me, Graeme Smith is the greatest Test captain of the modern era. But, to help his case, he had men like Jacques Kallis, the greatest All-Rounder and Dale Steyn, the No. 1 Bowler at the time behind him. Just like the Australian team of 2000s, this team had a depth in resources. While, much was talked about Smith’s captaincy, it was the team that achieved the number 1 spot in Test rankings.)

When it comes to team sports, you need the team to perform. For, only motivation, innovation and leadership would all mean nothing if the team doesn’t perform. Even if you look at the 4 teams above, they had captains who stood out for their leadership. But, it was the whole team that performed in tandem consistently to make the team, along with the captain remembered. Again, I must say that the making of a great captain is inclined more towards having a good team.
I rest my case with a quote of Sir Gary Sober. He said, “Clive(Lloyd) was a great leader and a great captain and also a tremendous player. They dominated because they had amazing players. They had the best opening combination of all time. The middle-order had Viv Richards, Lawrence Rowe, Alvin Kallicharan. Larry Gomes and Richie Richardson followed and made team quite powerful. They had someone special in every department. They had it all. I don’t think you will ever see that again. IT WAS SIMPLY A GREAT TEAM.”

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