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Greg Chappell, the former Australia captain and India coach, talks to the Telegraph's Lokendra Pratap Sahi about his relationships with Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid, and his philosophies in cricket.
The role [of a coach] is highly misunderstood [in India] and the expectations are very high... When I took over, the expectations were such that nobody could have achieved what was expected. One must realise that, at times, you need to risk losing in order to set things up for the future.
Dravid showed courage because, for everyone else, it was we can't do this, for if we get beaten, the media would tear us apart... Dravid did a magnificent job, because he bought into the philosophy of taking risks, making changes and looking ahead. As I've said, you don't stand still in sport... We wanted to take risks because we wanted to get better as a team.
Former England captain Mike Brearley, who works now as a psychotherapist, talks about the importance and tactics of captaincy, the Kevin Pietersen saga, the role of coaches and more, in an interview with Subhash Jayaraman in the Cricket Couch.
Basically, these guys have to decide whether to have two slips and a gully, or whether to bowl this bowler from this end, or whether someone is tired and needs to be changed, or what is a good score on a certain pitch etc. That is the tactical side, and you still have a great responsibility of influencing the team, for grooming people together into a team that really supports each other, or building up the confidence of someone who is less confident, or challenging someone who is over confident. All of that, and trying to play yourself. All these things are absolutely the same.
Sourav Ganguly made Steve Waugh wait for the toss during that famous series in India in 2001; Younis Khan went a step further in the President's Cup final between Habib Bank Limited and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines limited, by remaining absent. Instead, it was his deputy Imran Farhat who walked out for the toss with Misbah-ul-Haq. These weren't mindgames, however. Younis was stuck in traffic in Karachi for hours due to a protest march following a terrorist attack in Quetta on January 11; it didn't help that Younis' cell-phone network was not working. He only made it to the ground after lunch, and fortunately for him his team, HBL, chose to field.
Martin Crowe, the former New Zealand captain, has reportedly burnt his New Zealand blazer in protest against Ross Taylor's demotion as captain. The New Zealand Herald reported that golfer Ryan Fox re-tweeted a message from Crowe's @MartinCrowe299 account: "Burnt NZ cricket blazer Dec 7, 2012. RIP." Crowe's account, according to the newspaper, has since been deleted, together with the tweet, and so is Fox's re-tweet.
When the Herald tried to get in touch with Crowe, he texted: "With respect ... no comment now or ever." Crowe, in a column for ESPNcricinfo, voiced support for Taylor during the latest captaincy crisis, writing : "Over the last week NZC destroyed the soul of Ross Taylor, easily our best player. They have apparently apologised for the way his sacking from the captaincy was handled. Nevertheless they have amputated his spirit and there is no prosthetic for that.
"And yet NZC goes unaccountable. They continue to strip the worth from players and, therefore, as an organisation, they have definitely become worthless."
If at all his tweet was genuine, the literally fiery protest was just an affirmation of his disgust at the current state of New Zealand cricket. Pity there isn't a screen-grab to show for the drama. Perhaps, it was Crowe doing an Ashes with his blazer, not a pair of bails.
Satyam Mukherjee, a scientist at Northwestern University in Illinois, has tried to come up with an answer to a question that has often inspired much debate: who was the greatest captain the game has seen? Mukherjee has used, what he calls, a “complex network approach” to come up with the answer. More from the Economist.
So who is the most successful captain in Test history? According to Mr Mukherjee, it is Steve Waugh, captain of Australia between 1999-2004. It is difficult to disagree with his finding. Mr Waugh holds the record for the most consecutive Test wins at 15 (the team itself was unbeaten for 16).
Mahendra Singh Dhoni is two IPL matches away from leading Chennai Super Kings to their third straight IPL crown. Dhoni’s success ratio has prompted some to call him one of the luckiest captains in history. Avinash Subramaniam, writing for firstpost.com, looks back at the tenure of Kim Hughes, Brian Lara, Ravi Shastri, Tatienda Taibu and Aron ‘Ali’ Bacher, all captains that did the job with varying success.
How lucky a captain is Mahendra Singh Dhoni? Most people would unabashedly say, well, of course, very. Speaking of the role luck plays in the life of a captain, here’s what one of Australia’s great captains, Richie Benaud, had to say on the matter, “Captaincy is 90 percent luck and 10 percent skill. But don’t try it without that 10 percent.”
Keeping Benaud’s pithy views in mind, here are five captains who, in the opinion of this writer, certainly possessed a bit of skill but didn’t have Lady Luck on their side. Is this a complete list? Well, of course. Not.
MS Dhoni enjoys the trappings of success, deservedly so, but remains rooted in the simple work ethic of his family, says Simon Briggs, in an interview with the India captain in the Daily Telegraph.
England captain Andrew Strauss describes himself as a winner, but for all the kudos of his three Ashes triumphs, the man on the other side of Thursday’s coin toss has done it all: World Cup, World Twenty20, World No 1 in Test cricket. And he has done it with such serenity and poise that you would think he was still playing in a tape-ball street game back in his native town of Ranchi. This is one of Dhoni’s greatest talents: the ability to transmit calm and relaxation to his players when things are tight. Yet it is something of a conjurer’s trick, for he is keenly aware of the responsibility he carries. Indeed, he himself sometimes feels the need to escape from the pressures of fame climbing aboard one of his 25 beloved motorbikes ...
England's Test series against India brings threats to Andrew Strauss' authority on and off the pitch, says Mike Selvey, writing in the Guardian.
He [Strauss] no longer has a complete empire on which to fall back. So now his international future will stand or fall on his Test record alone, on the success of the team and the runs he contributes personally. The young pretender is in place. Strauss believes, and he may be right, that concentration on one aspect will buy him time. Yet it may also place too high a demand on this drive to succeed. He has little margin for error now.
Nasser Hussain and Sourav Ganguly, were captains who introduced pugnacity and backbone to Test sides that were languishing in the rankings, says Rob Bagchi, writing in the same paper.
Twelve years ago the fortunes of both sides were bleak. England were ninth in the rankings, rock bottom beneath Zimbabwe and New Zealand, and India, led reluctantly by Sachin Tendulkar, were fifth with barely half the points of Australia. Two men in the commentary box for their home audiences for this seductive series, Nasser Hussain and Sourav Ganguly, were the catalysts for the progress made over the past decade and while they have been eclipsed by their successors, both sides owe a debt of gratitude to the men who transformed their character.
MS Dhoni ranks right up there with the best international captains – think Imran Khan, Mark Taylor, Arjuna Ranatunga – of the last three decades, says Ian Chappell, writing in the Hindustan Times. Like all good captains, says Chappell, Dhoni displays an aura that, no matter what is happening on the field, suggests to his team ‘all is well’.
Dhoni and Ranatunga both had moderate attacks, which makes their achievement in winning a World Cup even more meritorious … Neither Dhoni nor Ranatunga were ones to lament their lack of attacking options; they just devised plans to beat the opposition with the bowlers they had in hand. Dhoni even admitted after the semi-final he’d misread the Mohali pitch but that still didn’t stop him from finding a way to win with the attack he had…
Dhoni gradually brought his team to a peak during the tournament and they were at their best in the final. And, as good as they were, not even Imran, Taylor or Ranatunga put on such a commanding personal performance as Dhoni did in a World Cup final.
Meanwhile, writing in the Daily Telegraph Tanya Aldred says Wayne Rooney could learn a thing or two from the calm-under-immense-pressure India captain, after the footballer received a two-match ban for his expletive-laden goal celebration.
Testosterone can take you a long way, but it doesn’t defend you from looking like a thug … On the same Saturday, over on the other side of the world, another man was under more pressure than even Rooney could imagine. A small town-boy, sturdy, stubbly and with a most magnificent nose, MS Dhoni was leading India in their pursuit of the cricket World Cup against Sri Lanka … The din was transcendental, the weight on Dhoni’s shoulders oppressive. Yet there he was, ridiculously, unbelievably, calm.
That six that won the Cup, high into the exploding Mumbai sky, was icing so pink and delicious it was almost sickly. Never will he play a more rewarding shot. And yet, though he gave himself perhaps a fraction of a second too long to admire the ball sailing into the night, there were no foul-mouthed celebrations to camera. Just embraces with team-mates and worthy handshakes with opponents…
Abhishek Ghosh remembers his one-time school-mate, a certain MS Dhoni, in Tehelka.