Captaincy

SEPTEMBER 07, 2014

Spinners need intelligent, trusting captains to thrive

V Ramnarayan: A captain must be able to understand a spinner's craft if he is to manage him properly and set the right fields
Anil Kumble set a fine example as captain in managing the slow bowlers © AFP
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AUGUST 27, 2014

English cricket

Cook's boys are all right

Criticism has been as regular as breakfast for Alastair Cook. He saved himself from becoming an "untenable" option as Test captain but the focus has now shifted to his one-day capabilities. With former players questioning if England have the composition to win a World Cup, Stephen Brenkley, in the Independent comes to the support of the embattled England captain

Cook's batting strike rate as captain is 81.89 runs per 100 balls, acceptable even by the era's standards. There seems to be a desire outside the selection room to pack the team with sluggers on the grounds that one or two are bound to come off. England may actually have it right as long as the totals to which they aspire are based on conditions on the day, not some statistical database. The plan is to backload the innings after a solid start with Joe Root, Morgan and Jos Buttler all scoring at a lick

AUGUST 12, 2014

Is Pakistan's slow approach now holding them back?

Ahmer Naqvi: Under Misbah-ul-Haq, Pakistan have had a lot of success when they have batted for time and strangled teams with spin. But they may need a different tactic now
AUGUST 01, 2014

How exactly does one 'lead by example'?

Alex Bowden: A captain needs to do enough as an individual to retain respect and control, but exceptional performances may not result in even greater influence
JULY 30, 2014

Why we need Cook to succeed

Andrew Hughes: Because there is no one else who can captain this England side
JULY 30, 2014

Cook's Brearley lesson

Jon Hotten: Mike Brearley managed to remain an outstanding captain despite his consistent failures with the bat. Is there a lesson in there for England's current skipper?
JULY 27, 2014

The geometry of captaincy

Scott Oliver: Maybe leadership in cricket is not so much about the art of captaincy as about the real-time computing of information
JULY 11, 2014

Are you born to captain?

Nicholas Hogg: Are some people just made to lead and the rest to follow? Let's examine the case of the two Captains Cook
JUNE 25, 2014

England cricket

Tend to Cook the batsman, before Cook the captain

England's hopes of a new era were struck down in Headingley by a young and hungry Sri Lanka. As much praise as Angelo Mathews and his side deserves, the hosts did not do themselves justice both in terms of the cricket they played and the tactics they used. Mike Selvey, in the Guardian, casts the magnifying glass on the captain Alastair Cook and suggests he might be trying too hard to change himself and the process if proving to be detrimental.

If Cook were to score runs in the kind of quantity he once managed, then that would underpin the innings, with others feeding from it, and leadership would seem easier. It does appear, however, that he might be placing too much emphasis on being in the vanguard, perhaps trying to be something he is not, rather than being a little more selfish in that regard and thinking primarily about his own game. The point has not yet been reached where either Cook or his employer should be considering whether his position as Test captain is appropriate for both the team benefit and his own but it will be under discussion.

MAY 05, 2014

Australia's rise and the climb ahead

Michael Jeh: Under Michael Clarke, they have had a fantastic summer. But can they continue to keep the competition at bay in Tests, and win the World Cup?
APRIL 05, 2014

Indian cricket

Wadekar's shoes and a Karnataka triumph

In the Telegraph, historian Ramachandra Guha reminisces about Karnataka's semi-final against Bombay in March 1974, en route to their first Ranji Trophy title. Guha writes that Karnataka beat Bombay in that game (on first-innings basis) due to two human errors - the first an umpiring decision that went in favour of Gundappa Viswanath off the first ball he faced; and Ajit Wadekar's slip, which resulted in his run-out and allowed Karnataka to take a lead.

Some 20 years after I watched Karnataka defeat Bombay for the first time, I met Ajit Wadekar at a reception in New Delhi. I reminded him about the match and how he had got out, adding that had he not slipped he would still be batting at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. His answer, offered with a laconic shrug of the shoulders, was: "New shoes."

MARCH 21, 2014

The Tendulkar-Brearley conundrum

Samir Chopra: The stereotype of the hero-worshipping Indian fan ignores evidence that seemingly skewed fandom is also present in supposedly more rational settings
MARCH 20, 2014

The what-ifs of Wasim Akram's captaincy

Hassan Cheema: His stats, and the list of great players who flourished under him, indicate he ought to be up there with Imran and the rest. But is he?
FEBRUARY 15, 2014

The golden trio of Pakistani captaincy

Hassan Cheema: Misbah has been a terrific leader but it's still not enough to knock off Imran, Mushtaq and Kardar off their lofty perch
JANUARY 31, 2014

From 'sarong Johnnie' to national icon

Janaka Malwatta: By refusing to back down, Arjuna Ranatunga proved to the opposition and his own team that Sri Lanka had earned the right to compete as equals
JANUARY 12, 2014

The Ashes 2013-14

How Clarke outwitted Cook

Australia's dominance of the Ashes was clear at every term - except, perhaps the top-order batting in first-innings - and you don't need many numbers to show why they won 5-0. However, in the Sydney Morning Herald, Malcolm Knox has dissected how Michael Clarke used his bowlers to never allow England a foothold in the series.

The Australians talked a great deal about bowling in partnerships, but the most productive of them was an unexpected one. Johnson and Harris captured more than half the English wickets, but not necessarily while bowling together. Johnson took 20 of his 37 wickets, in fact, while Nathan Lyon was working from the other end. Lyon took 14 of his 19 wickets in tandem with Johnson. The England collapses in both innings in Brisbane, in the first innings in Adelaide, and in the second innings in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney, all occurred while Johnson and Lyon were operating together.

JANUARY 09, 2014

The Ashes 2013-14

Give Flower all the power

Andy Flower likes to tap into the knowledge of other sports, and their coaches, as he decides on the best way to go about his job. That job has now become very tough in the wake of the Ashes whitewash and there are suggestions he will walk if he doesn't get his way over Kevin Pietersen. Sir Clive Woodward, who guided England to the 2003 Rugby World Cup, writing in the Daily Mail, provides an view from outside the cricket world about how the ECB need to go about rebuilding.

No matter the sport, the head coach must be the only man who is unequivocally in charge, yet even Flower's job title of 'team director' muddies everything. In our national set-ups both in cricket and rugby, too many key decisions are being made by committee. That in turn leads to popularity contests and allows compromise to come into play. When things go wrong reports are commissioned -- the 2006-07 Ashes whitewash sparked the Schofield report -- but nobody fronts up to take the blame.

JANUARY 06, 2014

The Ashes 2013-14

The worst implosion ever?

The UK media are picking through the bones of England's Ashes skeleton, partly trying to work out where it all went wrong and partly assessing where it ranks among sporting thrashings. Paul Hayward, in the Daily Telegraph, argues the 5-0 whitewash has to rank at the top of English humiliations given that they came off the back of winning 3-0 just a few months ago.

This time, after a reasonable first day of the series in Brisbane we saw England assailed by technical, intellectual and emotional chaos, with no one able to stop it. Recent Ashes history makes no sense. The swing from the summer is too great for us properly to comprehend because it takes us beyond mere sporting factors into a vast realm of psychology, team spirit and character. Flintoff has spoken of his depression on the 2006-07 tour. One wonders at the private thoughts of captain Cook and his men now and how they will suffer with the results from these five Tests slung permanently around their necks.

In the Daily Mail, Paul Newman writes that the rebuilding for 2015 - the next Ashes - has to start now and that five players who appeared in this series should never play for England again

The senior players have let England down. Graeme Swann will be the hardest to replace. Jonathan Trott will have to convince England that he is well enough not to leave a tour again if he is to come back but Matt Prior will return, possibly as early as the first Test of next summer. But there will be those who should never play Test cricket again after this -- Monty Panesar, Tim Bresnan, Chris Tremlett, Michael Carberry and Jonny Bairstow.

In the Guardian, Vic Marks assess the performances of Boyd Rankin and Michael Carberry on the third (and last) day in Sydney

We have seen plenty of Carberry already on this tour. He has impressed by his swift-footed valour against Mitchell Johnson and Ryan Harris at the start of the innings. Then, so often he would stagnate. Perhaps he felt he was doing his duty as wickets fell at the other end. Then he would be dismissed, a victim of his own inertia.

In his column for the Daily Telegraph, which was also published in the Sydney Morning Herald, Geoffrey Boycott does not think England will take the tough decisions that are needed.

Over recent years England have employed more backroom staff believing it makes them more professional. In fact, they have over-complicated professionalism. We have coaches for everything. Psychologists, team analysts and an 82 page diet book that made us a laughing stock. It is time they got into the real world and stopped wasting money on frivolous luxuries that do not make any difference when Mitchell Johnson is whistling it around your earhole. The players have stopped thinking for themselves.

DECEMBER 31, 2013

Is Misbah one of Pakistan's best captains?

Ahmer Naqvi: If you go by the numbers of wins and individual performances while in charge, he hasn't done too badly
NOVEMBER 13, 2013

Warne, Watson, and the importance of emotional intelligence

Michael Jeh: A certain famous legspinner has shown he does not quite get leadership - in contrast to the two captains in the upcoming Ashes series
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