A good cricket captain needs nerves of steel and more
The team with the best captain made it to the final…and won. Shane Warne’s captaincy skills have been much lauded and I too cannot help but wonder what it is exactly that Warne has that he managed to take a team with hardly any stars on to win the IPL. And my respect for M.S. Dhoni has also shot up. Despite his star batsmen leaving after the first few games he got his team to the final.
An obvious truth: to win you need good players + good teamwork + a great leader. Great players may be an asset but teams can do without them. In fact at times individual egos of some star cricketers can come in the way of good teamwork.
The qualities of a great captain
I found this article by M.R. Baig who says that “ the natural gift of leadership has to be complemented with a sound knowledge about cricket and the ability to read the wicket (which can make a crucial difference in the decision to bat or bowl first). He has given an explanation as to what qualities a good captain should have and I have listed them here in brief:
- Nerves of steel
- Good thinking ability, logical and systematic
- Good judge of people and able to gauge their moods. (necessary to get the best out of each player)
- Fearless…never afraid to attack
- Doing one’s homework on each player’s strengths and weaknesses so one can use the player to the best of his ability.
- And related to the above point, the ability to read people and their moods…this helps the captain to respond differently to each player. One player might be motivated by a strong reprimand, another might get de-motivated)
- Will to win
- Flexibility…to be able to change plans and respond differently to different situations.
Perhaps this is why the Mumbai Indians could not make it even to the semis. I do admire great sportsmen who hold world records but it isn’t necessary that they be great captains. Isn’t it rare to be the world’s best bowler, or the world’s best batsman and also the world’s best captain?
In India we have debated this issue often, about the pros and cons of making either Saurav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar or Yuvraj or M.S Dhoni the captain. Anyone familiar with Indian cricket is aware of what the issues are…but even then the same mistakes are being made. Perhaps one needs a coach who nurtures not just batsmen and bowlers but also leaders.
And we also need franchisees who stop deciding team composition or team captains. And I am not just talking of the Mumbai Indians but other teams too. So who will choose the team captain? Coaches I think.
I’ll leave you with some images of yesterday’s match. Last evening we were on our way back from Pune. We passed the D.Y. Patil stadium. The excitement was visible even to passersby like us.
There was a huge traffic jam on the other side. We were going towards Mumbai but the vehicles coming from Mumbai were at a slow crawl. Which means don’t ever try and take this route on a day when an IPL match is scheduled at the DY Patil stadium! And for those who are going to the match, well, I just hope everyone made it in time.
We got home faster than usual as the roads nearer our house were deserted. It was after seven and people were either at DY Patil stadium or they were at home watching the closing ceremony of the IPL on television. I was thinking…what are we doing here? Shouldn’t we have started from Pune earlier so we could catch the closing ceremony on TV?
By the time we were back home the closing ceremony had started and it had everything from an acrobatic show to bollywood dances and a laser show. Uh, I realised I hadn’t missed much although the acrobatic show was good.
Then to the real story…the start of the match:
And the winner is: Shane Warne.
Related Reading: IPL has caught the nation’s fancy