April 22, 2012

Captains: follow Clarke's lead

In the long run, captains who aim to win and set fields that will get them wickets are the ones who will succeed and last
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Michael Clarke is quickly establishing a well-deserved reputation for brave and aggressive captaincy. His entertaining approach is based on one premise: trying to win the match from the opening delivery. This should be the aim of all international captains, but sadly it isn't.

In every era there are Test captains who prefer to attain a position of safety before they go all out for victory. These captains are frightened stiff of the Michael Clarkes, who make it obvious they are not interested in a draw. At least 50% of international captains consider a draw to be a good result and when that option is removed they easily panic.

The first thing a captain like Clarke understands is that he will lose some matches in constantly striving for victory. Once that premise is accepted the captain has reached the stage where he hates to lose but doesn't fear it. There's a huge difference: the latter is a positive state where the captain will do everything in his power to win; the former a mindset where the captain sets out not to lose.

An important indicator of a captain's thinking is his field placings. A positive captain will always make the opposing batsmen feel their very existence is threatened. Through his field placings he allows his bowlers to turn at the top of their mark and see where a wicket (other than bowled, lbw or through the batsman's stupidity) can be claimed.

A bowler operating to a purely containing field is like Zorro without his sword; he's not very threatening. There has been plenty of discussion on whether the shorter forms of the game will adversely affect batting techniques and turn bowlers into cannon fodder. What the 50- and 20-over matches have actually had a marked influence on is field placings.

Whereas the No. 1 priority, by a wide margin, used to be taking wickets, followed by saving singles, and then, way off in the distance, stopping boundaries, in the mind of the modern captain the last one has assumed far too much importance.

The almost robotic use in Test matches of a deep cover point and a backward square leg on the boundary, regardless of whether the ball is being played in that direction, borders on mindless captaincy. When a fieldsman is unemployed for half an hour but the captain still retains him in that position, you have to wonder: who appointed this captain?

The change in attitude to field placings is perfectly summed up with some typical Caribbean humour and common sense.

Former West Indies fast bowler Herman Griffith was captaining a Barbados club side in the 1930s once, and called on his debutant offspinner to have a trundle. "Where do you want the field?" asked Griffith politely.

"I'd like a deep-backward square leg, a midwicket on the boundary and a long-on and long-off," replied the youngster.

"Give me the ball," growled Griffith.

Not unreasonably, the young man asked, "Why?"

"You intending to bowl shite," came the forthright answer.

Nowadays, most bowlers would be horrified if the captain didn't automatically give him a number of protective fielders in the deep. Clarke is not such a captain.

Sadly, his latest gambit - a challenging declaration at the Queen's Park Oval, which was answered with equal bravado by Darren Sammy, failed because of inclement weather. Nevertheless, it's to be hoped their positive endeavours have acted as a sharp reminder to the administrators.

In Test cricket the captain is allowed free rein. We've seen in the case of Clarke and Sammy what's possible when two captains use a bit of imagination and have a desire to produce a result. It's impossible to legislate for captaincy imagination. In the 50-over game, which is highly regulated through a variety of Powerplays, and bowling and field restrictions, there is less real captaincy involved.

Wherever possible, the captaincy should be left to the skippers, and those with imagination will prosper. Hopefully those who lack inspiration and the nerve to face a challenge will be quickly replaced by the selectors.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is now a cricket commentator and columnist

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY dadvoc on | April 25, 2012, 20:14 GMT

    I have never been a great fan of 'conservative captaincy' I would rather like to see my team lose a match while trying to win, then to lose it anyway while trying to 'save' it. Misbah always feel comfortable with the saving approach, and I think that it is pure luck that has enabled him to win that many matches with such negative approach. A captain who goes for a draw when he needs 250 runs on the last day of a test is by my standards a coward. From a spectator's point of view, teams captained by such individuals tend to get boring. This is why Australian are so revered in the cricketing world, they are always trying to win, even if the odds are stacked against them.

  • POSTED BY on | April 24, 2012, 10:04 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas,Sriraj---Very valid comments and true to the core.Clarke was appointed skipper at th backdrop of Ashes loss to England(he himself had not scored in the series).Also there were a few other issues like Andrew Symonds ouster from the game etc for which clarke was held responsible at least to an extent.He has played and led well in the successive matches(in Sl,151 on a fiery pitch against SA..etc).BUT verdict is still out on his captaincy/career.The fact is if Aus loses against SA this summer knives will again be out.Although Aus are beating weaker sides recently (Ind.WI)the way they play and the development of a bowling 'attack' gives hope.Batting is a conncern and i am afraid will be a concern.Time will prove how long Aus success lasts.now to all those who compare Dhoni and Clarke..both were appointed under similar circumstances BUT clarke is a natural to test cricket while Dhoni is good(great)for shorter formats.the sooner he and the selectors accept this the better..

  • POSTED BY Meety on | April 24, 2012, 2:40 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas - bravo! @Sriraj G.S - no what you meant, but it wasn't the whole country. He certainly has converted a lot of people.

  • POSTED BY Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on | April 23, 2012, 20:49 GMT

    It's hard to note so much hatred against Clarke. I think his biggest fault is to have those boyish looks and tattoos. All of a sudden his commendable and honourable approach to the coveted post of an Australian Captain has become a bitter pill for his critics to swallow. Get over it haters. To be tough, you don't have to have that grumpy look on your face like a Waugh or a David Boon. Clarke surely earned respect of many Indians with the way he led his budding team while demolishing us. To be honest, for the first time I never felt bitter losing to Australia. A fair sportsperson can make his adversaries and fans of the opponent's camp to stand, take notice and bow. That's what Clarke has done to Australian Cricket from this Indian's perspective. Much RESPECTS and love to Michael 'RESPECT' Clarke. Hoping to see him in IPL and I hope he infuses some freshness into our Indian youngsters about approach to a team game. Indian young minds are spoiled by obsession to personal milestones.

  • POSTED BY Alexk400 on | April 23, 2012, 17:36 GMT

    Dhoni was golden boy too until 8-0 crushing defeat. Clarke is not bad not great either. He won some games in favourable condition. He will be tested when his bowlers don't deliver goods. Aussie bowling ok but batting revolves around clarke and ponting. if opposition has world class fast bowler aussie team will crumble. For me ponting was aggresive captain. Clarke , dhoni , smith all made of same cloth. They are Roosters in chinese astrology. Very lucky for sure. They have presence and deliver goods through results mostly. For me best captain always SNAKE ( 1965 , 1977 , 1989) , Steve Waugh , Sangakara , Jaywardene , Strauss now. Snakes are clever and outlast everyone. They win ugly.

  • POSTED BY Valavan on | April 23, 2012, 17:16 GMT

    I think clarke is a successful captain, but his long run will justify his status, drawing at SA is a gem coming back from 1 - 0, ofcourse rahulcricket007, when did strauss chest thump, just it was all indian fans who were loathing about winning in england and australia. Strauss and clarke still miles ahead of MS Dhoni when it comes to test captaincy. Windies playing better cricket than India currently.cricinfo please publish.

  • POSTED BY on | April 23, 2012, 17:11 GMT

    Clarke is wonderful captain and he ll show good results no matter where he plays but aussies batting is a weak link nowadays . They can crumble anytime any where . The other hilarious thing i have seen in the above mentioned comments is that most of our friends are saying they have to beat india in india and india is v strong at home in tests . Well no doubt in past they were very stiff to beat but watching closely last series against WI india was no where dominating against weak WI and WI had situations where any average batting outfit would have won . So Aussies can only feel the heat against Eng in Eng but then again they have great pace attacks so they will be competitive and i don rate SA as i was much disappointed by their last two test series against NZ and Australia .

  • POSTED BY unregisteredalien on | April 23, 2012, 16:24 GMT

    I think Sriraj G.S. is right here. The naysayers from India and England who think it'll all change once Clarke & co arrive on your soil: I suggest a little temperance in your predictions because there's a fair chance you'll be eating your hats soon enough. He hasn't succeeded there yet because he hasn't yet tried, and in the meantime your own sides have issues aplenty and must surely envy Aus's win-loss record under Clarke.

  • POSTED BY on | April 23, 2012, 13:59 GMT

    A captain can only be aggressive if his bowlers had the ability to take 20 wickets on any surface.. Hilfenhaus, which this short run up and amazing ability to swing the ball consistently bowling at speeds over 150, so is siddle, pattinson and cummins.. with this kind of talent a captain can be aggresive anywhere except india and sri lanka, where you need genuine world class spinners to win you matches which australia don't posses. One cannot blame a captain like dhoni, sangakarra or mishbah for their approach with the kind of bowlers they have at the moment.

  • POSTED BY on | April 23, 2012, 13:56 GMT

    Sydney declaration was masterstroke

  • POSTED BY dadvoc on | April 25, 2012, 20:14 GMT

    I have never been a great fan of 'conservative captaincy' I would rather like to see my team lose a match while trying to win, then to lose it anyway while trying to 'save' it. Misbah always feel comfortable with the saving approach, and I think that it is pure luck that has enabled him to win that many matches with such negative approach. A captain who goes for a draw when he needs 250 runs on the last day of a test is by my standards a coward. From a spectator's point of view, teams captained by such individuals tend to get boring. This is why Australian are so revered in the cricketing world, they are always trying to win, even if the odds are stacked against them.

  • POSTED BY on | April 24, 2012, 10:04 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas,Sriraj---Very valid comments and true to the core.Clarke was appointed skipper at th backdrop of Ashes loss to England(he himself had not scored in the series).Also there were a few other issues like Andrew Symonds ouster from the game etc for which clarke was held responsible at least to an extent.He has played and led well in the successive matches(in Sl,151 on a fiery pitch against SA..etc).BUT verdict is still out on his captaincy/career.The fact is if Aus loses against SA this summer knives will again be out.Although Aus are beating weaker sides recently (Ind.WI)the way they play and the development of a bowling 'attack' gives hope.Batting is a conncern and i am afraid will be a concern.Time will prove how long Aus success lasts.now to all those who compare Dhoni and Clarke..both were appointed under similar circumstances BUT clarke is a natural to test cricket while Dhoni is good(great)for shorter formats.the sooner he and the selectors accept this the better..

  • POSTED BY Meety on | April 24, 2012, 2:40 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas - bravo! @Sriraj G.S - no what you meant, but it wasn't the whole country. He certainly has converted a lot of people.

  • POSTED BY Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on | April 23, 2012, 20:49 GMT

    It's hard to note so much hatred against Clarke. I think his biggest fault is to have those boyish looks and tattoos. All of a sudden his commendable and honourable approach to the coveted post of an Australian Captain has become a bitter pill for his critics to swallow. Get over it haters. To be tough, you don't have to have that grumpy look on your face like a Waugh or a David Boon. Clarke surely earned respect of many Indians with the way he led his budding team while demolishing us. To be honest, for the first time I never felt bitter losing to Australia. A fair sportsperson can make his adversaries and fans of the opponent's camp to stand, take notice and bow. That's what Clarke has done to Australian Cricket from this Indian's perspective. Much RESPECTS and love to Michael 'RESPECT' Clarke. Hoping to see him in IPL and I hope he infuses some freshness into our Indian youngsters about approach to a team game. Indian young minds are spoiled by obsession to personal milestones.

  • POSTED BY Alexk400 on | April 23, 2012, 17:36 GMT

    Dhoni was golden boy too until 8-0 crushing defeat. Clarke is not bad not great either. He won some games in favourable condition. He will be tested when his bowlers don't deliver goods. Aussie bowling ok but batting revolves around clarke and ponting. if opposition has world class fast bowler aussie team will crumble. For me ponting was aggresive captain. Clarke , dhoni , smith all made of same cloth. They are Roosters in chinese astrology. Very lucky for sure. They have presence and deliver goods through results mostly. For me best captain always SNAKE ( 1965 , 1977 , 1989) , Steve Waugh , Sangakara , Jaywardene , Strauss now. Snakes are clever and outlast everyone. They win ugly.

  • POSTED BY Valavan on | April 23, 2012, 17:16 GMT

    I think clarke is a successful captain, but his long run will justify his status, drawing at SA is a gem coming back from 1 - 0, ofcourse rahulcricket007, when did strauss chest thump, just it was all indian fans who were loathing about winning in england and australia. Strauss and clarke still miles ahead of MS Dhoni when it comes to test captaincy. Windies playing better cricket than India currently.cricinfo please publish.

  • POSTED BY on | April 23, 2012, 17:11 GMT

    Clarke is wonderful captain and he ll show good results no matter where he plays but aussies batting is a weak link nowadays . They can crumble anytime any where . The other hilarious thing i have seen in the above mentioned comments is that most of our friends are saying they have to beat india in india and india is v strong at home in tests . Well no doubt in past they were very stiff to beat but watching closely last series against WI india was no where dominating against weak WI and WI had situations where any average batting outfit would have won . So Aussies can only feel the heat against Eng in Eng but then again they have great pace attacks so they will be competitive and i don rate SA as i was much disappointed by their last two test series against NZ and Australia .

  • POSTED BY unregisteredalien on | April 23, 2012, 16:24 GMT

    I think Sriraj G.S. is right here. The naysayers from India and England who think it'll all change once Clarke & co arrive on your soil: I suggest a little temperance in your predictions because there's a fair chance you'll be eating your hats soon enough. He hasn't succeeded there yet because he hasn't yet tried, and in the meantime your own sides have issues aplenty and must surely envy Aus's win-loss record under Clarke.

  • POSTED BY on | April 23, 2012, 13:59 GMT

    A captain can only be aggressive if his bowlers had the ability to take 20 wickets on any surface.. Hilfenhaus, which this short run up and amazing ability to swing the ball consistently bowling at speeds over 150, so is siddle, pattinson and cummins.. with this kind of talent a captain can be aggresive anywhere except india and sri lanka, where you need genuine world class spinners to win you matches which australia don't posses. One cannot blame a captain like dhoni, sangakarra or mishbah for their approach with the kind of bowlers they have at the moment.

  • POSTED BY on | April 23, 2012, 13:56 GMT

    Sydney declaration was masterstroke

  • POSTED BY AdamB on | April 23, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    People are reacting adversely to this because of how early in the day it is. I think Clarke may well prove a very good captain, but it's slightly odd how quick Ian Chappell (who I usually enjoy) is to hold up Clarke as a saviour of the game.

    Unfortunately the article is simply one opinion of one aspect of an intricate game held together by an old anecdote attributed to any number of players throughout cricketing history and a frankly false statement; "Whereas the No. 1 priority, by a wide margin, used to be taking wickets, etc."; the number 1 priority is winning games.

    As England showed, there are many ways to take wickets. The example of bowling dry against OZ once the shine had gone is an excellent example. You have to go on results, and up until the winter ENG had them. Now they're back in ENG there is no need change tactics drastically on the basis of Clarke forcing a victory in one game in one series (even though that was good captaincy). Similar goes for SA.

  • POSTED BY on | April 23, 2012, 12:14 GMT

    To all those bashing Clarke - you know what? He doesn't care! The whole country was against the appointment of this bloke and didn't want him near the team calling him 'un-Australian'. But he's turned the tide of the whole country and he's now the favorite over here. It won't take long for him to convert his overseas critics as well...this guy is really the golden boy!

  • POSTED BY Pratik_vodka on | April 23, 2012, 11:53 GMT

    Oh wait i remember another sporting declaration and the one that was praised as equivocally made by a equally aggressive thoughtful captain named Cronje , oh wait forget it that was just the 50K rand talking and not the captaincy. My bad. Gl Clarke we need more results ! oh wait thats what the bookmaker said.. i meant we need More exciting Tests! go go Clarke!

  • POSTED BY on | April 23, 2012, 11:52 GMT

    Michael Clarke has been playing since 2004..how many records has he set?he may be around for another 5-6 years at the most...dont think he will set even an Australian record forget world record....over hyped player

  • POSTED BY mukesh_LOVE.cricket on | April 23, 2012, 11:45 GMT

    the main problem for aussie haters is that, either they simply hate Australia because they dominated the game for so long and didn't show any false modesty going about their business and now is the chance to get back , or they think all Australian teams has to match up to that incredible era of steve waugh/warne/mcgrath/gilchrist , well its not possible... our superstar oriented team and its supporters obsessed with some imaginary personal milestones can learn a few tricks from clarke (after 8 straight away losses , 4 of them by an innings we Indians better keep quiet of other teams performance)

  • POSTED BY popcorn on | April 23, 2012, 10:28 GMT

    The BRIGHTEST Australian Southern Star! Michael Clarke!

  • POSTED BY on | April 23, 2012, 9:37 GMT

    Forget, if Clarke is good or best or even Worse. The point, important, in the article is, that, he is an aggressive approach in his Captaincy. And THAT, i believe is a VERY VERY VERY good thing. Being a Pakistani, and a huge CRICKET Fan, i strongly wish, IF ONLY MISBAH (or any other Captain) had such an aggressive approach....

  • POSTED BY garr on | April 23, 2012, 9:06 GMT

    To date Mr Clarke has not lost a series. Despite a very shaky top order, he smashed, India, and drew with SA . England are currently the bench mark, but at least Australia strive to get results in tests. We have beaten number Two at home and drew with SA what more do the aussie bashers want. India had the chance to prove their ability with their much vaunted batting side and were embarrassed by both England and OZ. It is australian sides for the past almost two decades that have consistently taken 20 wickets and won over 80% of tests at a scoring rate well above anyone else. They have come back to the field but don't denigrate Australia because you are envious of their success. Come on India win overseas.

  • POSTED BY Riderstorm on | April 23, 2012, 8:27 GMT

    Like the thought but not with the argument put together in the article. Mr. Ian chappell, have you forgotten the way you have admired lot of the present day captains once in their tenures for their bold decisions. It's clarke's turn but to show down the other is outright wrong. I believe captaincy is all about confidence in your men that they would come through more often than not, which seems to add to the brave captaincy of clarke. Lets not come to decision regarding clarke's abilities as a captain. Remember not so long ago how aggressive and brave a captain ponting was who never thought of draw or lose as options. I understand that he had the best team at his disposal but it all comes down to trust.

  • POSTED BY mukesh_LOVE.cricket on | April 23, 2012, 7:25 GMT

    Whats up with the talks of 47 all out ? what has clarke got to do with it ? clarke is proving in each match that he intent to win , yes Australia is no longer 'THE BEST IN THE WORLD' , but they are fighting with everything they got ,and that has to be appreciated ... i still remember how dhoni accepted a tame draw against the windies when with a bit of risk he could have won the match for India.. for those talking about 'better teams' here is a fact - australia beat SA in odi and if not for that one freakish session would have beaten them in tests too

  • POSTED BY dinosaurus on | April 23, 2012, 5:22 GMT

    Now, all of you who keep reminding us of Australia's score of 47 all out ought to at least acknowledge India's score of 81 all out against New Zealand in 1976. Both of these debacles were in losing "away" Tests. All teams have bad days!!

  • POSTED BY Rooboy on | April 23, 2012, 4:40 GMT

    Confused as to why the comments about 47 all out are being made. Well no, actually, I understand that Australia is so important to some people that they'd rather see Aus lose than their own team win, but I am confused as to why people think it is relevant to this article. The 47 was a product of good SA bowling, poor Aus batting, and a tough pitch. None of which have ANYTHING at all to do with Clarke's captaincy. And at least one of the commenters here predicting doom for Clarke as a captain also said that india would smash Aus last summer. I guess if you make enough irrationally negative anti-Aus predictions, you'll get one right sooner or later. Maybe. @VivGilchrist -'Bravo ... wouldn't get a game for South Australia' lol. Ouch that's harsh but I take your point. Although, us Redbacks take just about anyone these days, and Bravo wasn't born in SA so he fits the selection criteria perfactly ...

  • POSTED BY Gupta.Ankur on | April 23, 2012, 4:25 GMT

    Clarke wouldn't have dared to do it against higher ranked teams and secondly when you score 2.3 runs an over..........you better get brave.

  • POSTED BY Nick_Pats on | April 23, 2012, 3:18 GMT

    i would wait for much tougher tests of his captaincy.

  • POSTED BY noplay on | April 23, 2012, 1:37 GMT

    I guess no one heard Sammy and Gibson say they could beat this Australian outfit. Truth is Clarke has a lot of guys on his team who have never been near the equator, facing a team that is so good they have no use for Chris Gayle. Sammy thought he was safe in the Kensington match and still lost. He took up the gauntlet here because he felt WI could not be bowled out in the two sessions. He reacted to a situation that he himself would never have initiated. Clarke does have imagination. He did not try to prevent WI from getting anything more than they deserved... a la Graeme Smith

  • POSTED BY Meety on | April 23, 2012, 0:25 GMT

    @Saleem Ashgar Mian - always was a fan of Khan's captaincy, not only did he try hard for a win, he had to do a lot more gelling of his team than any other captain would have to do. For the same reasons I give Misbah a tick - although he is conservative, he has less to work with than Khan. @chappellbrothers - "What if Australia loses 8 tests in a raw..." assuming you meant if Clarke declared in all of those matches, I think anybody would be right to bag him, but if we lost 8 tests in a row, something makes me think that captaincy would not be the main talking poiint!!!!!!!!!!

  • POSTED BY leggetinoz on | April 23, 2012, 0:00 GMT

    To all those saying lets see how he goes against SA, England and India (but in India of course cause god forbid the indians should be competitive anywhere else). He has already Captained Australia to a series draw against SA in SA. Yes we were bowled out for 47 but SA were bowled out for 96 in the same test but that is conveniently forgotton. Yes we lost to NZ in a experimental squad, NZ played well and we only lost by 5 runs or so. Pretty sure India has lost to NZ as well at some stage. Clarke has been doing a great job, i am happy that people in Australia are finally accepting him. The guy has made what could have been a drab and boring series quite interesting and that should be congratualted enough. Hopefully those (indians for example) follow his lead and go for wins rather than trying to consolidate a 1-0 lead into a 1-0 series victory.

  • POSTED BY on | April 22, 2012, 23:59 GMT

    I would like to point out to the Clarke bashers who point out "lets see this against the top sides" or "Lets see Clarke outside of australia" Well, 1-0 series win against Sri lanka (Probably should of been 2-0 or 2-1) and a 1-1 draw against SA (Yes it included 47 out, but in all seriousness, would anyone remember if australia won it, much like SA being all out for 96?) and now a 1-0 up with one to go. No series losses yet. Its still early to judge, but his captaincy has far more imagination the Pontings ever did. Clarkes true test will be India in India, but he certainly has the mindset for it.

  • POSTED BY Hyderabadi_Nawab on | April 22, 2012, 22:33 GMT

    Fantastic piece by Ian Chappell, Michael Clarke is the best test captain purely due to his approach. All decisions of a test captain are to be judged on intent and not result. Clarke has amply demonstrated in his stint so far that he intends to captain with a positive result in mind and that is what is refreshing. Hope other captains take a cue then we will not have to talk about how test matches need rejuvenation. Good on ya Chappelli and Pup!

  • POSTED BY miketurney on | April 22, 2012, 21:48 GMT

    Clarke's doing OK but its easy to declare and be bold against the West Indies. Once Chanderpaul is out they fold. Lets see him do it in the ashes. Aussies are still very poor and havent discovered any new batsmen. Cant see Hussey, Punter and Watson being there for too much longer. Bet he wouldnt have done it if Gayle was playing

  • POSTED BY Trapper439 on | April 22, 2012, 21:01 GMT

    I find it astonishing that the likes of RAHULCRICKETOO7 (HE OF THE CONSISTENTLY ANNOYING ALL-CAPS COMMENTS) say that Clarke's real test will be when he comes up against teams like SA and mention the 47 all out as justification. Who do you think that 47 was against, exactly, Rahul? It was against SA, in SA, and Australia still drew that series 1-1.

  • POSTED BY Buggsy on | April 22, 2012, 20:17 GMT

    Nice comments there Scrop, let's all just play defensively go for the draw. What a brilliant idea.

  • POSTED BY Surendra87 on | April 22, 2012, 20:17 GMT

    Headline should follow:

    Captain's follow clark and sammy's lead.

  • POSTED BY pradeep_dealwis on | April 22, 2012, 18:45 GMT

    True. The best captains always attack and go for the win. But it doesn't need to be Attack-Attack-Attack. Defense can be used as a strategy. Example is the SL Vs Eng match at Galle. Jayawardena defended and kept the run rate down till the new ball came, and then attacked with the spinners. And it worked.

  • POSTED BY chappellbrothers on | April 22, 2012, 18:33 GMT

    I wonder if Australia had lost both the tests because of Clark's declaration bravado, would Ian still write the same article? May be. What if Australia loses 8 tests in a raw (of course, Clark was "brave" to declare in all of those tests)? Ian's article would state, "Clark lacks method to madness". Clark had method to madness against West Indies (Yes, answer is West Indies). Not sure if Clark could sustain these methods against SA, Eng, Pak, or Ind in their home countries (i think even SL and NZ could be tough too).

  • POSTED BY rahulcricket007 on | April 22, 2012, 18:15 GMT

    MR. CHAPPELL . MICHAEL CLARKE IS AN ATTACKING CAPTAIN . NO DOUBT ABOUT THAT BUT SAYING THIS THAT HE IS BEST AT THE MOMENT IS NOT TRUE . YES HE BEAT INDIA BY 4-0 , BEAT WI IN FIRST TEST . BUT BOTH SIDES ARE WEAK IN COMPARISON TO AUS . IF YOU REMEBER NOT SO LONG AGO AUS WAS BOWLED OUT FOR 47 & ALSO LOST A MATCH TO NZ .HIS REAL TEST WILL COME WHEN HE PLAYS LATER AGAINST SA , ASHES & INDIA(IN INDIA) . IT'S TOOEARLY TO JUDGE A CAPTAIN ON THE BASIS OF SERIES AGAINST MEDIOCRE INDIAN SIDE . THE SAME THINGS WERE SAID ABOUT STRAUSS ALSO LAST YEAR . BUT NOW HE HAS COME DOWN TO EARTH AFTER LOSSES IN PAK & DRAW IN SL .

  • POSTED BY Alexk400 on | April 22, 2012, 17:22 GMT

    Sorry Mr. Ian chappel, if you have bowlers you can be aggressive. Crab do not go straight line. Hahaha. When you weaklink , you take cautious approach and hide your weakling. As much i don't like dhoni , dhoni is best we got. Sehwag is brainless when it comes to captaincy. Even though i don't like clarke , he has done well so far. He has n't tested against england. Until then i reserve my judgement. South africa captain smith is ok. They have all the tools , yet they choke at critical juncture. They get cold feet. May be because of smith ? Only south africa need bold captain. They have all the tools in the armoury , they should blow people out and they are not doing it for some reason. England has good captain. They got trott and they have decent bowlers but they play with plan. Aussies always aggressive. They win more than lose. When they lose it look kinda stupid but they win more. They want more .That is bottom line.

  • POSTED BY on | April 22, 2012, 16:11 GMT

    Seriously, yes....look at the quality of bowlers and the no of out-of-form batsmen at his disposal...he's doing a pretty neat job. He's also one of those master tacticians of the game. Ashes 2013 for the oz!

  • POSTED BY TahirMahmood on | April 22, 2012, 15:54 GMT

    If michail calark leads Australia in this way, Australia will rise to No. 1 ranking very soon. I like his tactics. Next Ashes will be very big challange for MC. Keep it up pup.

  • POSTED BY Alkais on | April 22, 2012, 14:43 GMT

    Clarke reminds me of Mark Taylor. He was the greatest captain Australia has ever produced. He has always gone for win. Most of the time, his team has won because of the confidence he shown on his bowlers especially shane warne, the way he was used by Taylor is commendable. Waugh had once told during the reign of Taylor, that they could have drawn the tests which they had lost while going for win. Waugh had great team which Taylor had built.

  • POSTED BY Vkarthik on | April 22, 2012, 13:27 GMT

    RIP Clarke's career as captain now that Ian has complemented. It is going to go only one way. That is downward.

  • POSTED BY Kolpak1989 on | April 22, 2012, 12:56 GMT

    I'd like to see AB De Villiers as SA test captain. Apart from Jayawardene, de Villiers is the only international captain that looks to be on the same level as Clarke tactically. Good things happening in the Australian team at the moment. Building well to reclaim the Ashes.

  • POSTED BY renegademike on | April 22, 2012, 12:48 GMT

    Clarke's captaincy is indeed very refreshing, and must say-impressive at times as well.The fact that he is the best batsman on form in the team also helps. I wonder however, what if he actually starts to lose matches, will that change his approach? Having said that , its almost the way the Aussies 'want' to play their cricket. The legacy if we look; comprises of Border-Taylor-Waugh and Ponting. "Win as many as you can while in good form". Australia are still in transit and clarke's building a new team. He has a good team but unlike Waugh & Ponting not a great team as yet. But the fact that he has bowlers who are capable of picking 20 wickets should help him win a few more then he would lose.Their bowling attack is not settled and they are still trying to find their top 3 seamers who could serve them for a longer time and to be able to play and perform for a long time. Well he looks good to be on the right track in making the Aussies regain their No.1 test spot.

  • POSTED BY kunderanengineer on | April 22, 2012, 12:41 GMT

    Mr. Chappell, I agree with you 100% when you say that "captains who aim to win and set fields that will get them wickets are the ones who will succeed and last " I would go one step further and say that this would not be a bad prescription to help test cricket itself succeed and last.This is why the game needs captains like Michael Clarke. He essentially managed to convert the last test against the Windies into a one day international on the 5th day and had the weather co-operated we might have been treated to a thrilling finish. If test cricket is to attract more fans of the 1 day format and expand its base, it doesn't hurt to have a little in it for the fans of limited overs cricket as well and this begins with bold and aggressive captaincy as displayed by Clarke. In contrast to this, at about the same time last year when Dhoni had a chance to go for the win against WI on the final day, he opted to play it safe and go for a draw. This is what turns fans like me away from tests.

  • POSTED BY boooonnie on | April 22, 2012, 11:28 GMT

    For tests to maintain a high place in the cricketing landscape then a large majority of tests must end in a result. Today's competitive sporting market place within and outside of cricket cannot tolerate dull draws. For this to happen two things must occur 1) captains play for wins and not afraid to lose (as we read above) and 2) pitches must allow both bowling attacks to have a chance to get 40 wickets in 5 days. There is always a place for a thrilling test draw, but i would still argue that the best draws always occur when one side is pushing hard, and on the verge of, a victory.

  • POSTED BY Chris_P on | April 22, 2012, 10:37 GMT

    @Scrop. You really have no idea about cricket, do you? Have a look at the World Cup U/19 when Clarke was captain of Australia. He was diong this sort of thing back then as an 18yo! Yes, he may have been setting up a loss in the 2nd test, but the important point was that he was always a chance of a win, the odds still in his favour. If he let the game peter out for a draw neither side would have had a chance of victory. He is making results happen, read Chappell's article, he says "The first thing a captain like Clarke understands is that he will lose some matches in constantly striving for victory." How is this difficult to comprehend?

  • POSTED BY Dinoop86 on | April 22, 2012, 10:10 GMT

    Very true..and a good comparison is Dhoni with Ganguly..many would argue that Dhoni is the best captain but the truth is he simply had the best team..and Ganguly on the other hand had build a team ..he mentored the youngsters and made them realize their potential.. and I am pretty sure Clarke will do the same for Australia..Just wait and see how new legends will emerge under Clarkes leadership..Like the one's of Macgrawth and Shane..and these are the real captains who not only contribute to their team but they contribute to the game of cricket..

  • POSTED BY hhillbumper on | April 22, 2012, 10:09 GMT

    Yeah Randy we are really worried about Aus.Two batsmen a poor imitation of an offie and fast bowlers who break down very two seconds. Yep we are really scared of your great team.

  • POSTED BY on | April 22, 2012, 10:01 GMT

    I know his name wasn't mentioned once, but this article makes me think of Graeme Smith. As a Proteas supporter I've been frustrated many times by his conservative captaincy. I wish he would set lower final innings totals, and every time I think he will, he just can't bring himself to do it. He fears losing more than he relishes winning. Its a shame, because he's a great captain, but he could have been even better.

  • POSTED BY bestbuddy on | April 22, 2012, 9:37 GMT

    Graeme Smith would do well to read and learn from this article. His constant use of deep men square of the wicket when Tahir is bowling completely negates Tahirs attacking instincts

  • POSTED BY tamrakshar on | April 22, 2012, 9:31 GMT

    Ian, great article on captaincy! Michael Clarke will carry on the legacy of Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting. It's time for rise again. Very soon Australia will reclaim the number one spot in test. Australia has got the best pace attack. Their batting lineup is also very strong. However, the only worry is the lack of availability of a champion spinner. Nathan Lyon may not be the person.

  • POSTED BY urprashant on | April 22, 2012, 9:19 GMT

    It looks Ian Chappell has become a fan boy of Michael Clarke's captaincy and very soon he will declare that Clarke is the greatest captain ever in world history!!! The reality is unless he win a test series against England and South Africa, It is immature to even call him a good captain......

  • POSTED BY VivGilchrist on | April 22, 2012, 9:18 GMT

    @Scrop, Clarke has captained against South Africa in South Africa. I think people trying to be negative and not considering facts are common posters on Cricinfo. Aussie bashing is so common on this site it's not funny. FACT Australia will always play to win. FACT Australia have won 7 Tests lost 2 and drawn 3 under Clarke. There away record in this period is 3 wins 1 loss and three draws in SAf, SL, and WI. FACT please stop talking about Dwayne Bravo being a great player - he averages 31 with the bat and 39 with the ball, that wouldn't get a game for South Australia. FACT Lyon averages 28 in Test cricket - he must be ok.

  • POSTED BY on | April 22, 2012, 8:28 GMT

    @ravi.m: Can you tell me how many captains would place more than 1 slip on a slow and low track? Zero I would presume because even club captains wouldn't do that! On slow wickets, you instead want you fielders in front of the bat placed in the batsman's V. And most of you are missing the point here. Clarke is not great because of winning. It's because he openly acknowledged that he is not afraid to take gambles. He admits they may not always pay off but he's not going to sit back and let things meander. He keeps trying something new. Eg: bowling to SRT before tea at SCG, bowling Warner and nearly getting a wicket with his first ball in tests, trying out a fly slip in WI (which failed next ball), getting RP to bowl ripping off-breaks on a spitting SL pitch almost getting Mahela out, bowling Hussey more often, keeping point up to Gambhir despie him being on 80-odd on a flat SCG pitch and getting him out. And Chapelli has never been biased...merely logical.

  • POSTED BY on | April 22, 2012, 8:24 GMT

    Imran Khan when leading Pakistan always had the desire to win even it meant losing the match. He led from the front and it is so encouraging to see that Clarke is adopting this policy. Cricket has to be made result oriented to attract spectators and TV viewers.

  • POSTED BY SamRoy on | April 22, 2012, 8:19 GMT

    One fine thing about Clarke is he understands what aggressive field placements mean. It is not about having 3 slips all the time. If the wicket is slow and low not a single edge is going to carry to the slips unless it is a full blooded shot. So, he removed all slips and placed two short mid-wickets, a forward short leg and a short cover. Plus rotating his fast bowlers so that all are fresh and ready to go and impressive use of Lyon (who is not all that good, at least not test quality yet) shows he has sharp cricketing acumen. Easily Australia's best captain since Mark 'Tubby' Taylor.

  • POSTED BY chandi69 on | April 22, 2012, 8:16 GMT

    I am from Sri Lanka. I respect the opinion of Mr. Ian. But one must remember the team he has and the team he plays against. You always have to take to an account all the factors. For my country the best captain that we had was Arjuna and followed by Marvan.But then they had players like Murali, Sanath, Aravinda,Vass etc. A captain is as good as his team. if Clerk captain a Zim or a Bangaladesh team will he be so positive and will he get so many good results ? No... Mr. Ian you must remember that it's after all the WI.. Who are so poor and without Gayle, Bravo etc. It would be intersting to see even if he would have done the same if Gayle was playing ......

  • POSTED BY Scrop on | April 22, 2012, 8:02 GMT

    Mr Ian "Bias" Chappell, Lets see how Mr. Clarke goes about his captaincy when he plays away against India, SAf and England (ashes). Against WI he is expected to win, so he in more ways is forced to Declare and go for the win.

    "The first thing a captain like Clarke understands is that he will lose some matches in constantly striving for victory"

    Lets see how he handles a situation when his 'go for the win' plans backfire. It was about to in my opinion, in the 2nd Test against WI - only for the rain to intervene.

  • POSTED BY jkaussie on | April 22, 2012, 7:03 GMT

    @ravim - you make a point re Clarke only having one slip at times with the new ball. Well, a majority of the wkts that fell throughout the game after day 3 were through mistiming the drive, and having just batted on a deck where he had experienced it's lack of pace, the field made sense. You can't have fielders everywhere, by having those fielders catching on the drive, the batter is forced to open or close the blade more to find the gap, and this creates the edge. Occasionally, it goes to hand, occasionally it goes through the gap but take the fielders away from in front of the wicket, and those edges are less likely to be created - sometimes you win some, sometimes you lose but at least Clarke's decision was based on sound thinking and the state of the deck

  • POSTED BY bulldawgs on | April 22, 2012, 6:29 GMT

    Agree with Siddharth Bawa. Have Clarke captain Bangladesh side or Zimbabwe side and see if he declares knowing what bowlers he has and knowing how vulnerable the batting is. Winning hides everything. When he declared while still in deficit, he knew he would not loose given the time left, he could either win or draw. Other captains have done that and results have been draws so no one praises them. Agree with Mr. C that a Captain can influence/ encourage the Bowler to bowl aggressively but can not change their talent level.

  • POSTED BY arun_spurred on | April 22, 2012, 6:28 GMT

    I believe a a captain can be as aggressive as his team. Clarke has at his disposal a very potent bowling line up which has the ability to take 20 wickets on a consistent basis. Some other captains do not. This reflects in their field placements.

  • POSTED BY ham1990 on | April 22, 2012, 6:28 GMT

    Completely agree with you Mr. Chappell. In my eyes Clarke is the only captain in world cricket who has got it right, and he has only been in the job full-time for about a year now. Guys like Strauss and Dhoni need to take heed and try to win tests with attacking fields and sporting declarations etc. Captains in the mould of Clarke realise there is no point in sitting back and waiting for a wicket when you run the risk of chasing too large a total...evidently the only logical conclusion would be to attack and try to get the opposition out for a lower score. Obviously they run the risk of losing the match quicker, but at least they know they've tried all they can to win.

  • POSTED BY SICHO on | April 22, 2012, 6:27 GMT

    Clarke is a good captain no doubt but one cannot judge him by a series against the Windies NO!!! We know that against Eng in the Ashes or even SA he will not declare from behind and he will not declare with a lead of less than 240 in the final day with 60 overs remaining for the day. So praising him against the Windies doesn't make sense at all and absurd, he has to prove himself against the top dogs in order to be called the very best captain in the modern game, besides if the game was lost he could've been critised like hell. But he is still a good leader

  • POSTED BY Rahulbose on | April 22, 2012, 6:21 GMT

    Attack and defense are both part of the game. Some defensive captains have had good results. Just look at what Mibah is doing with Pakistan.

  • POSTED BY on | April 22, 2012, 6:15 GMT

    Expect not,Mr.Chappel,an Indian or Pak captain to do this for the crowd shall tear them to pieces if they lose one being brave..!!!

  • POSTED BY takenaback on | April 22, 2012, 6:08 GMT

    @Theena Kumaragurunathan. I wouldn't describe Michael Clarke's declaration in the first-innings one of the bravest tactical decisions in a long time as Australia were 9 wickets down and not far behind. He is however an imaginative captain and for this he should be applauded. Hopefully his style catches on as we need to do all we can to keep interest in test cricket.

  • POSTED BY on | April 22, 2012, 5:55 GMT

    Clarke's one of the best current captains but Chappell a good writer, not so much. As showcased by ravi.m's comment below.

  • POSTED BY smalishah84 on | April 22, 2012, 5:54 GMT

    Always like to read Chappell's take on captaincy

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | April 22, 2012, 5:46 GMT

    Great article as usual Ian. You can add Strauss to the list of worried captains. Straus, much like the English public, are extremely worried about how fast Australia has recovered and how good we are looking. Still, I guess they have more pressing issues to deal with. The Windies look like a stiff challenge for them after losing 4 of their past 5 tests.

  • POSTED BY msnsrinivas on | April 22, 2012, 5:24 GMT

    MS Dhoni won India the world cup but his captaincy in tests leaves a lot to be desired. Sure, the bowling attack is toothless but Australia's is not great either. Having said that, let's see what Clarke does in the Ashes or on one of the tougher assignments.

  • POSTED BY on | April 22, 2012, 5:13 GMT

    While there are some good points in this article, as usual I find a bit of bias towards an Australian captain by Ian Chappell. I think he should realise the old cricketing statement "a captain is only as good as his team". Australia shouldn't get so excited that they beat India 4-0; has he conveniently forgotten the 47 all out trouncing they received at the hands of South Africa recently? Every team has a peak and trough in terms of their captain, this should be taken into account as well.

  • POSTED BY unregisteredalien on | April 22, 2012, 5:10 GMT

    Clap clap. Right on the money this time Mr C. I couldn't agree more.

  • POSTED BY rvhvvh on | April 22, 2012, 5:04 GMT

    This is where exactly Dhoni is poor at. He sets the same fields for Test as well as Limited over cricket. In Tests, one needs to be more aggressive and look to take wickets rather than protecting runs. I really like the way Clarke is shaping up as a Captain. Also its good to see him giving top priority to Test cricket over others(T20, Big Bash) which are just played for Entertainment. All the best Clarke, and hope (Mr.Captain cool) Dhoni learns from his failures.

  • POSTED BY ravi.m on | April 22, 2012, 4:05 GMT

    I understand the time difference for viewers in the East; but, assuming you watched ball-by-ball, what's your take on Clarke only having just 1 slip for Hilfenhaus (bowling at right-handers) with the new ball in WI's 2nd innings of the 1st Test? Just because Australia won, one can't merely forget all those edges went for FOUR through the cordon.

    So far in this series, there have been about 15 edges (that carried) that went between 2nd & 3rd slip region with new ball (mostly from Hilfy to Righties). Australia might have even won the 2nd Test if Clarke had 3 slips for Hilfenhaus with the new ball. I don't know how you derived at Clarke "trying to win the match from the opening delivery"!

    Nobody can question the actual points you made! After all, you're easily the best captain the world has seen in the past 40 years of cricket that I'm aware of. However, blindly praising Clarke, while neglecting his mistakes, is misleading for those viewers who have so much faith in your assessment.

  • POSTED BY on | April 22, 2012, 3:50 GMT

    Couldn't agree more. Very impressed with Clarke. Early days I know but the declaration during the first test against Windies was one of the bravest tactical decisions on a cricket field in a long time. That he was willing to do it with a bowling unit that isn't exactly overflowing with superstars is all the more reason to celebrate such decisions. I know it could have looked bad if it had backfired, but that isn't the point. Fear of losing is worse than losing in my opinion.

  • POSTED BY smudgeon on | April 22, 2012, 3:43 GMT

    thank god Clarke has gumption, imagination, and a desire to win. he seems kind of like a cross between Waugh & Taylor, in that he (like Tubs) is also a good leader and manager of his team. true, he won't always get the best results, but i'd rather see them go down with the intent to win than to settle for a draw. if test cricket wants to stay vital, win-loss results should be the aim.

  • POSTED BY Nadeem1976 on | April 22, 2012, 3:38 GMT

    I am impressed by Clarke. I hope he stays positive with his approach and win ashes in 2013 in england to get back #1 spot.

    I don't think Clarke is more innovative than AB deviliers. I would like to see how these two captains play their teams in 2015 WC. AB is anti chock. Clarke is for win all the way aka australiaizm.

    Aus and SA future is in very good hands now.

  • POSTED BY on | April 22, 2012, 3:35 GMT

    Clarke could make that declaration because, at the end of the day, he knew the WI team he was playing had less fight then his team. He wouldn't have done it against England in an Ashes game.

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  • POSTED BY on | April 22, 2012, 3:35 GMT

    Clarke could make that declaration because, at the end of the day, he knew the WI team he was playing had less fight then his team. He wouldn't have done it against England in an Ashes game.

  • POSTED BY Nadeem1976 on | April 22, 2012, 3:38 GMT

    I am impressed by Clarke. I hope he stays positive with his approach and win ashes in 2013 in england to get back #1 spot.

    I don't think Clarke is more innovative than AB deviliers. I would like to see how these two captains play their teams in 2015 WC. AB is anti chock. Clarke is for win all the way aka australiaizm.

    Aus and SA future is in very good hands now.

  • POSTED BY smudgeon on | April 22, 2012, 3:43 GMT

    thank god Clarke has gumption, imagination, and a desire to win. he seems kind of like a cross between Waugh & Taylor, in that he (like Tubs) is also a good leader and manager of his team. true, he won't always get the best results, but i'd rather see them go down with the intent to win than to settle for a draw. if test cricket wants to stay vital, win-loss results should be the aim.

  • POSTED BY on | April 22, 2012, 3:50 GMT

    Couldn't agree more. Very impressed with Clarke. Early days I know but the declaration during the first test against Windies was one of the bravest tactical decisions on a cricket field in a long time. That he was willing to do it with a bowling unit that isn't exactly overflowing with superstars is all the more reason to celebrate such decisions. I know it could have looked bad if it had backfired, but that isn't the point. Fear of losing is worse than losing in my opinion.

  • POSTED BY ravi.m on | April 22, 2012, 4:05 GMT

    I understand the time difference for viewers in the East; but, assuming you watched ball-by-ball, what's your take on Clarke only having just 1 slip for Hilfenhaus (bowling at right-handers) with the new ball in WI's 2nd innings of the 1st Test? Just because Australia won, one can't merely forget all those edges went for FOUR through the cordon.

    So far in this series, there have been about 15 edges (that carried) that went between 2nd & 3rd slip region with new ball (mostly from Hilfy to Righties). Australia might have even won the 2nd Test if Clarke had 3 slips for Hilfenhaus with the new ball. I don't know how you derived at Clarke "trying to win the match from the opening delivery"!

    Nobody can question the actual points you made! After all, you're easily the best captain the world has seen in the past 40 years of cricket that I'm aware of. However, blindly praising Clarke, while neglecting his mistakes, is misleading for those viewers who have so much faith in your assessment.

  • POSTED BY rvhvvh on | April 22, 2012, 5:04 GMT

    This is where exactly Dhoni is poor at. He sets the same fields for Test as well as Limited over cricket. In Tests, one needs to be more aggressive and look to take wickets rather than protecting runs. I really like the way Clarke is shaping up as a Captain. Also its good to see him giving top priority to Test cricket over others(T20, Big Bash) which are just played for Entertainment. All the best Clarke, and hope (Mr.Captain cool) Dhoni learns from his failures.

  • POSTED BY unregisteredalien on | April 22, 2012, 5:10 GMT

    Clap clap. Right on the money this time Mr C. I couldn't agree more.

  • POSTED BY on | April 22, 2012, 5:13 GMT

    While there are some good points in this article, as usual I find a bit of bias towards an Australian captain by Ian Chappell. I think he should realise the old cricketing statement "a captain is only as good as his team". Australia shouldn't get so excited that they beat India 4-0; has he conveniently forgotten the 47 all out trouncing they received at the hands of South Africa recently? Every team has a peak and trough in terms of their captain, this should be taken into account as well.

  • POSTED BY msnsrinivas on | April 22, 2012, 5:24 GMT

    MS Dhoni won India the world cup but his captaincy in tests leaves a lot to be desired. Sure, the bowling attack is toothless but Australia's is not great either. Having said that, let's see what Clarke does in the Ashes or on one of the tougher assignments.

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | April 22, 2012, 5:46 GMT

    Great article as usual Ian. You can add Strauss to the list of worried captains. Straus, much like the English public, are extremely worried about how fast Australia has recovered and how good we are looking. Still, I guess they have more pressing issues to deal with. The Windies look like a stiff challenge for them after losing 4 of their past 5 tests.