April 21, 2013

Let captains do their job

And sack them if they don't. But don't saddle them with dozens of ill-qualified advisors in the form of coaches, trainers and managers
45

Good captaincy is like pornography; it's difficult to define but you know it when you see it.

When a captain signals from the opening delivery that he's trying to win the Test match, there's an urgency on the field and an expectation in the stands. Conversely, when a captain pushes fielders back, allowing the batsman a single to attack a tailender, there's no logic to the ploy. Once a captain basically stops trying to dismiss a batsman, the fans might as well adjourn to the bar, because the contest is then like Monty Python's dead parrot - it has ceased to be.

These are two extreme examples and most international captaincy falls somewhere between. Nevertheless captaincy, like the game, is constantly evolving and what was once deemed practical, is often declared out of date.

MS Dhoni made a reference to the changing nature of field placement following the recent whitewash against Australia. While his point is taken about requiring alternative field placings in an era of aggressive batsmen armed with meatier weapons and enjoying shorter boundaries, there's one axiom a captain should never ignore: try to do what the batsman would like the least. This adage applies equally to field placements and bowling changes.

The most difficult aspect of captaincy is when the opposition begin to assert their authority. The fielding captain then has to warily traverse the high wire and balance the saving of runs with letting the batsmen know their wicket is still under threat.

In these periods of play a match can quickly slip away or hopes may be revived, depending on the awareness and boldness of the fielding captain. A bold captain who holds his nerve in this situation can make believers out of his team-mates and then nothing appears impossible.

However, on field is only part of the job. The leadership aspect of captaincy is critical and this is where modern trends may be hampering captains and not allowing them to do the job properly.

When I was interviewed for the Argus report in 2011, I said in part: "I don't think the current system allows you to captain Australia properly." "Why not," was the harrumphed response. "Because there are too many people to tell to get stuffed," I replied.

As captain, I only needed to tell the team manager to keep his nose out of the cricket side of the business. Now, there's up to a dozen coaches, fitness and medical guys and even a high performance manager, who need to be reminded of their place.

All these people are looking to justify their existence. Michael Clarke, instead of mapping out the plan for each day's play along with a few of his trusted senior players, now receives more input than the US president, and generally from people who are not qualified to captain a primary school team.

It's a ridiculous burden to place on any captain and it inhibits good leadership. Apart from a bit of preparatory work in consultation with the players, the captaincy is best left to the skipper on the field. If the captain isn't doing the job properly the solution is not to provide him with more advisors but to sack him and find someone who is up to the task.

If there's a dearth of leadership candidates then the system is failing and improvements are needed, but replacing coaches will not solve the problem.

Captaincy by committee doesn't work. One of the craziest suggestions I ever heard was wiring up captain Hansie Cronje so he could listen to off-field coach Bob Woolmer. A captain has to be confident of his decisions and the last thing he needs is to be constantly second-guessed or bombarded with ideas. If a captain needs an earpiece then find him a job as a security guard.

The best way to improve as a captain is by doing the job. A junior captain can also learn from watching renowned skippers but he won't improve if he's surrounded by off-field advisors in the development stage. That system becomes self-fulfilling when he's later appointed at international level where he has to be supported by even more advisors.

Developing a few strong leaders is just as important as producing competitive young cricketers. That should be the aim of every international administration and their production lines need to reflect those aims.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is now a cricket commentator for Channel 9, and a columnist

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nerk on April 21, 2013, 22:28 GMT

    I think the problem is not so much the number of back room people, its the input these people have on the role of captain. Medical people should be there to get the players back on the field, not tell the captain that such and such should have a rest in the next test because there is a slight chance he may be injured. High performance managers should be liaisons between board and players, making sure the board is doing everything for the players and visa versa and not getting involved in internal disputes between players. Coaches should make sure the players are having fun, getting fit and creating the tactics needed. Selectors should select the team based on who the best 11 players are. And the captain is there to captain the team, make the field placings, choose the bowlers, get the batting list right and lead the players to victory.

  • on April 21, 2013, 4:15 GMT

    Scathing article. I think as readers we can feel the Ian's frustration expressed through this wonderful article. Although I do agree that the captain is the main man in a cricket team, we play a lot of cricket now in all 3 formats. Captaincy is high pressure job very similar to the role of manager in soccer. A decade or two ago the manager took control of transfers, club policy and all other matters. Just like in soccer and in cricket, one cant except that to continue.

    I think there needs to be a leadership group, not just one leader. So I do find myself disagreeing with Ian on this. However , I am concerned with how much involvement there is from the middle management. It is something that will need to be worked on like any organisation.

  • jay57870 on April 24, 2013, 12:15 GMT

    Ian - There are no simple solutions to complex situations. Modern cricket - with its 3 forms, tight 24x7 scheduling & diverse conditions worldwide - is far too complex & demanding for one man to handle alone. Look at super-coach Gary Kirsten. He's led 2 teams, India & SA, to the the top in Tests & an India WC2011 triumph to boot! Sure he's had the horses & a stable of solid mature players to build around. And smart captains. In India, Dhoni with Tendulkar, Dravid, VVS, Zaheer & Co. In SA, Smith with Kallis, Amla, AB, Steyn & Co. And a great motivational adventurer in Mike Horn to boost team spirit & reach the summit! Contrast with Greg Chappell's "my-way-or-highway" style: Fired! And Mickey Arthur's "secret dossier" & "do homework" approach: Failed! It's the coach's (& staff) job to get the team ready & develop strategy for each series & game. It's the captain's job to execute plan on field & let each one do his job. And adjust as situation warrants. Two minds are better than one, Ian!

  • hyclass on April 23, 2013, 14:34 GMT

    Intelligence is timeless. Ian Chappell appears to have grasped that fact. Cricket is still a bat, ball stumps and a pitch. The tenets of discipline, courage, fitness for purpose, attacking and defensive plans and courage are identical throughout the games history. The limits of what may be accomplished with these tools are identical. Leadership is by one man-not ten. There is no evidence to show that any facet of the game has advanced for the proliferation of coaches. There is no evidence to suggest a link showing 20/20 improves Test players. In fact all the evidence suggests quite the opposite. As Ricky Ponting recently observed,'When growing up, you aimed to bat until they got you out. That has all changed.' So have the standards. It is no coincidence that the batting malaise arrived with 20/20. There is also no proof to show that Test bowlers have improved with its arrival. In fact, we live in the age of injury, despite a medical and physio team. The modern method is a failure.

  • ThyrSaadam on April 22, 2013, 14:07 GMT

    Sometimes the value of a captian is overrated. Results quite dictate the performance of a captain. You could be a shrewd thinker of the game and what not, you still need the players with abilities to execute the plan be it while you are bowling, or while you are batting. Today's captains probably hold more value in off-field activities, like handling the media, press scrutiny, and so and so forth. The theory that a captian makes a lot of diffrence can be questioned by a simple example, if Dhoni/ Michael Clark are great captains, then have them lead the Bangladesh or a Zim side, surely their influence can be felt when either of them are performing (i.e. Clark with the bat, and Dhoni with the bat to an extent), but i doubt they can change the outcome of the result. Either of those sides pitted aganst a better team will always loose.

  • on April 22, 2013, 12:38 GMT

    Cricket is a complex game that is best when played simply. A leadership group is fine. The problems come when you have so many people with fingers in the pie and from the outsiders viewpoint there's a wealth of people in the CA ranks but very little ultimate leadership. Case studies? The witless RFU over Brian Ashton, the wrangles within the WICB, the mess that was the TCCB, possibly even Roman at Chelsea. Chapelli might not right on the mark with all of his views but he is right about the need for clear leadership.

  • PhaniBhaskar24 on April 22, 2013, 12:07 GMT

    Cricket Australia is soo much drowned with the idea of " Back to No.1" were making all the fuss. Turbulent times brings leaders...however, in Cric Aus, the scenario is there is no settled team..many new faces, rotation policies, work load sharing.....i remeber Huss making a point while retiring " there are many faces coming & going, compared to ealier days, nice to share room with them". Does it in another way round clearly implies " There is too much of Experimentation?"

  • cloudmess on April 22, 2013, 11:53 GMT

    I don't agree entirely with Chapelli. If you get the balance right, the backroom staff can perform specific roles in giving physical and mental support to players. But there should be strict limits to their remit, and - most significantly - players should have some option to ignore them if they want. In the modern game, with so much emphasis placed upon fitness, fielding and video analysis, there needs to be a role for a head coach, someone to report to the captain (rather than the other way round). Duncan Fletcher always got this right as England coach - he'd brief the captain, but always stand back once the match started. He'd also never force his advice on a struggling player. The system works less well when coaches go beyond their remit and want to be captain as well as coach (think of Fletcher's immediate successor, Peter Moores, there have been others...)

  • OneEyedAussie on April 22, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    Whenever there are players of immense natural ability, like Mitchell Johnson and Shane Watson, performing well below their potential the question will be asked: how may the situation be improved? Cricket Australia's answer seems to be to get more coaches. Not the right coach, more of them. Oh, and some "managers" too.

    The problem is that the onus and responsibility for success has been removed from the player to the coach. How many times have we heard about some new coaching strategy to help Johnson? All the while he stays in the team and performs in a sub-par fashion. Finally, he was dropped, and then and only then did he improve his game.

  • SouthPaw on April 22, 2013, 6:31 GMT

    @skilebow and others: Have you heard of "analysis paralysis"? This is what happens when you have too many people feeding into the mind of the captain. What Chappell is saying is to keep things simple and I agree with him.

  • Nerk on April 21, 2013, 22:28 GMT

    I think the problem is not so much the number of back room people, its the input these people have on the role of captain. Medical people should be there to get the players back on the field, not tell the captain that such and such should have a rest in the next test because there is a slight chance he may be injured. High performance managers should be liaisons between board and players, making sure the board is doing everything for the players and visa versa and not getting involved in internal disputes between players. Coaches should make sure the players are having fun, getting fit and creating the tactics needed. Selectors should select the team based on who the best 11 players are. And the captain is there to captain the team, make the field placings, choose the bowlers, get the batting list right and lead the players to victory.

  • on April 21, 2013, 4:15 GMT

    Scathing article. I think as readers we can feel the Ian's frustration expressed through this wonderful article. Although I do agree that the captain is the main man in a cricket team, we play a lot of cricket now in all 3 formats. Captaincy is high pressure job very similar to the role of manager in soccer. A decade or two ago the manager took control of transfers, club policy and all other matters. Just like in soccer and in cricket, one cant except that to continue.

    I think there needs to be a leadership group, not just one leader. So I do find myself disagreeing with Ian on this. However , I am concerned with how much involvement there is from the middle management. It is something that will need to be worked on like any organisation.

  • jay57870 on April 24, 2013, 12:15 GMT

    Ian - There are no simple solutions to complex situations. Modern cricket - with its 3 forms, tight 24x7 scheduling & diverse conditions worldwide - is far too complex & demanding for one man to handle alone. Look at super-coach Gary Kirsten. He's led 2 teams, India & SA, to the the top in Tests & an India WC2011 triumph to boot! Sure he's had the horses & a stable of solid mature players to build around. And smart captains. In India, Dhoni with Tendulkar, Dravid, VVS, Zaheer & Co. In SA, Smith with Kallis, Amla, AB, Steyn & Co. And a great motivational adventurer in Mike Horn to boost team spirit & reach the summit! Contrast with Greg Chappell's "my-way-or-highway" style: Fired! And Mickey Arthur's "secret dossier" & "do homework" approach: Failed! It's the coach's (& staff) job to get the team ready & develop strategy for each series & game. It's the captain's job to execute plan on field & let each one do his job. And adjust as situation warrants. Two minds are better than one, Ian!

  • hyclass on April 23, 2013, 14:34 GMT

    Intelligence is timeless. Ian Chappell appears to have grasped that fact. Cricket is still a bat, ball stumps and a pitch. The tenets of discipline, courage, fitness for purpose, attacking and defensive plans and courage are identical throughout the games history. The limits of what may be accomplished with these tools are identical. Leadership is by one man-not ten. There is no evidence to show that any facet of the game has advanced for the proliferation of coaches. There is no evidence to suggest a link showing 20/20 improves Test players. In fact all the evidence suggests quite the opposite. As Ricky Ponting recently observed,'When growing up, you aimed to bat until they got you out. That has all changed.' So have the standards. It is no coincidence that the batting malaise arrived with 20/20. There is also no proof to show that Test bowlers have improved with its arrival. In fact, we live in the age of injury, despite a medical and physio team. The modern method is a failure.

  • ThyrSaadam on April 22, 2013, 14:07 GMT

    Sometimes the value of a captian is overrated. Results quite dictate the performance of a captain. You could be a shrewd thinker of the game and what not, you still need the players with abilities to execute the plan be it while you are bowling, or while you are batting. Today's captains probably hold more value in off-field activities, like handling the media, press scrutiny, and so and so forth. The theory that a captian makes a lot of diffrence can be questioned by a simple example, if Dhoni/ Michael Clark are great captains, then have them lead the Bangladesh or a Zim side, surely their influence can be felt when either of them are performing (i.e. Clark with the bat, and Dhoni with the bat to an extent), but i doubt they can change the outcome of the result. Either of those sides pitted aganst a better team will always loose.

  • on April 22, 2013, 12:38 GMT

    Cricket is a complex game that is best when played simply. A leadership group is fine. The problems come when you have so many people with fingers in the pie and from the outsiders viewpoint there's a wealth of people in the CA ranks but very little ultimate leadership. Case studies? The witless RFU over Brian Ashton, the wrangles within the WICB, the mess that was the TCCB, possibly even Roman at Chelsea. Chapelli might not right on the mark with all of his views but he is right about the need for clear leadership.

  • PhaniBhaskar24 on April 22, 2013, 12:07 GMT

    Cricket Australia is soo much drowned with the idea of " Back to No.1" were making all the fuss. Turbulent times brings leaders...however, in Cric Aus, the scenario is there is no settled team..many new faces, rotation policies, work load sharing.....i remeber Huss making a point while retiring " there are many faces coming & going, compared to ealier days, nice to share room with them". Does it in another way round clearly implies " There is too much of Experimentation?"

  • cloudmess on April 22, 2013, 11:53 GMT

    I don't agree entirely with Chapelli. If you get the balance right, the backroom staff can perform specific roles in giving physical and mental support to players. But there should be strict limits to their remit, and - most significantly - players should have some option to ignore them if they want. In the modern game, with so much emphasis placed upon fitness, fielding and video analysis, there needs to be a role for a head coach, someone to report to the captain (rather than the other way round). Duncan Fletcher always got this right as England coach - he'd brief the captain, but always stand back once the match started. He'd also never force his advice on a struggling player. The system works less well when coaches go beyond their remit and want to be captain as well as coach (think of Fletcher's immediate successor, Peter Moores, there have been others...)

  • OneEyedAussie on April 22, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    Whenever there are players of immense natural ability, like Mitchell Johnson and Shane Watson, performing well below their potential the question will be asked: how may the situation be improved? Cricket Australia's answer seems to be to get more coaches. Not the right coach, more of them. Oh, and some "managers" too.

    The problem is that the onus and responsibility for success has been removed from the player to the coach. How many times have we heard about some new coaching strategy to help Johnson? All the while he stays in the team and performs in a sub-par fashion. Finally, he was dropped, and then and only then did he improve his game.

  • SouthPaw on April 22, 2013, 6:31 GMT

    @skilebow and others: Have you heard of "analysis paralysis"? This is what happens when you have too many people feeding into the mind of the captain. What Chappell is saying is to keep things simple and I agree with him.

  • landl47 on April 22, 2013, 6:08 GMT

    The game's changing. Too bad IC hasn't caught on. These days sports franchises have specialists in everything and the captain doesn't have to try to do a dozen jobs at once. I live in the US, where the money involved makes the IPL look like small change (the New York Yankees have a payroll for this season of $229 million; that's approximately three times the entire payroll of all the IPL teams put together) and they have specialist coaches and advisors for everything.

    Back in IC's day the guys turned up, did a bit of practice, went out and played mostly first-class or test matches, had a pint and came back the next day. Since video recording was rare, captains only knew about opposing players if they'd played against them and they had no-one to ask except other players. It's just not like that any more. Players watch video, work on specifics to improve their own play and there's a plan for everyone in all 3 formats. One man couldn't handle it all.

    Come in, IC, your time is up.

  • Insult_2_Injury on April 22, 2013, 5:13 GMT

    First time I've ever found myself agreeing with Chappell! It's well known that Chappell still lives in his own playing era, but in this instance his captaincy observations are spot on. Good Captaincy has more to do with an ability to think outside the square - including being prepared to lose (and wear the blame) - than it does about box ticking. Captains learn by captaining. It's high time all the ancillary off field staff have the gold lettered words; coach and manager taken off their clipboards and replaced with assistant. Everyone who does not take the field is there to assist the Captain and players to attain success.

  • on April 22, 2013, 1:59 GMT

    I believe it is also upto the captain to clearly understand his own role in the decision-making process. Clearly understanding each team member's role, and your own role as captain is critical to success. If a captain gets bogged down by all the advice around him, goes seeking such advice or cannot deal with advice givers, then there is a big problem in understanding his own role. Since victories or defeats go against the captain, anything to do with strategizing, planning or decision-making should have the captain's influence. The support system is available as a resource and in the current day scenario is something that must be leveraged. I think it all comes down to the captain clearly understanding and then communicating each team member's role.

  • Meety on April 22, 2013, 1:00 GMT

    "Good captaincy is like pornography..." - was really hoping for a good file pic, oh well! == == == Pro-cricket has a place for the backroom, & I think the mix will depend on what the playing XI is like & what the captain of that XI is like. It worked in IC's day to tell people to get stuffed, but these days IF Clarke told someone to get stuffed - he'd have to front the Board & defend a Harrassment case. There is a need for a coach, I think Bobby Simpson was perfect for Oz when he was in charge, & Buchannon for the most part was really good for what Oz had in his tenure. At the moment, I am not sure that Arthurs is right for the team. Surely batting coaches don't have a say on strategy?

  • ygkd on April 21, 2013, 22:07 GMT

    The featured comment regarding the need for a leadership group, while valid, omitted the role of the vice-captain. The role of the vice-captain is one of Australia's main problems. Australia does not have any stand-out candidates for the role; well, not among those who are selected. Watson's tenure was not a roaring success either. Clarke, too often, is alone on the field and surrounded off it. The other person who is often valuable as an on-field sounding-board is the wicket-keeper. However, I'm not sure that Australia has gotten that crucial position right either.

  • jackthelad on April 21, 2013, 19:04 GMT

    Chappelli has hit the nail spot on the head: to learn cricket captaincy, you play under good captains, you watch, you ask and slowly you develop your own style based on all that experience. You don't have to attend multimedia presentations laden with management-speak. In particular, you don't need interference from people who have never even played at the level you're captaining at. It's one of the plagues of the modern world that people believe managers know your job. They don't, or they'd be doing it.

  • Crick_Connoisseur on April 21, 2013, 18:36 GMT

    Can't agree more. All this support staff structure resembles a 'matrix' type of organization to draw a corporate world analogy and has no relevance on field of cricket. If it were so effective and critical to on field success then there have been enough men smarter than the 'ear-piece planters' and their ilk in history who would have adopted this approach much before. Sad part is that today's times are characterized by complicating simple things in life and all this business of dedicated experts for spin bowling / fielding/ fast bowling / batting/ coaching/ fitness / psychology ... only dulls the sport down. Barring Dale Steyn can you think of a single fast bowler today who can stand up to fast bowling greats that emerged unfailingly in each decade ? So much for this 'focused' approach !

  • smalishah84 on April 21, 2013, 15:35 GMT

    A fine article on the art of captaincy from one of the finest captains ever to play the game of cricket.

  • on April 21, 2013, 15:00 GMT

    Australia needs good bowling attack and also need a good spinner bowler like shine warn....

    me also suggest him to played these bowlers Doug Bollinger and Stuart Clark for attack plzzzzzzz

  • skilebow on April 21, 2013, 13:09 GMT

    I think Ian's views are stuck in the past. Sure the captain should have the final say but the amount of cricket played these days makes such back room staff necessary

  • NickFromSydney on April 21, 2013, 13:06 GMT

    I love how Ian Chappell has just said it how it is, referencing porn and telling people to 'get stuffed'. Great piece. My only criticism is that Chappell has a tendency to put their views forward in a way that almost puts everyone who hasn't played Test cricket down. I don't know if it is just me or if Chappell commonly in his newspaper and online articles writes statements along the lines of: they were only doctors for the team, and as they have never played Test level cricket they should have no say -or- the public doesn't understand the decisions of a cricket captain because they will never be one, and therefore should have no opinion -or- *Such&Such* should not be commenting on this persons form because they were not a Test player and was never good enough to play at that level. He can come across as someone who is valuing himself and other Test cricketers above everyone else because they played a game at professional level. It may just be me, but a bit of a turn off for the sport

  • DesPlatt on April 21, 2013, 12:35 GMT

    Amen to paragraph two particularly. I've seen several matches lost in county cricket through captains taking pressure off the batsman to concentrate on tail enders. Usually it has been my county which has lost but in one case, Lancs v Surrey in 2003 the tactic finished that fine Surrey team who were never the same again. They had Gary Keedy at one end and stopped trying to get Carl Hooper who was on 29 . Hooper pulverised them for a century composed of 2s, 4s and 6s . Surrey who were strutting arrogantly on their way to winning the match and possibly the championship, became a demoralised dishevelled outfit in an hour .

    Much of the difference between Australia and England in the 90s was because Mark Taylor and Steve Waugh were much more positive than Graham Gooch and Michael Atherton. Yes they had better players but England often competed well for much of a game but positive captaincy often won the crucial sessions

  • Jaffa79 on April 21, 2013, 11:03 GMT

    I see Ian Chappell's point here but I think the bigger issue is that those backroom staff help to get bowlers fit. It does not matter if you are Mike Brearley, Mark Taylor or Stephen Fleming; if you don't have a firing pace attack, then you will struggle to win Test matches. I do agree that their input should be limited to such tasks and all matters on the field should be left to the skipper.

  • yoadie on April 21, 2013, 11:00 GMT

    I could not agree with Mr. Ian Chappell more. When the West Indies toured Australia 1981-82 to play three Test matches and World Series Cricket (WSC), they were accompanied by two back-room men. And when they again toured Australia late last year, for a couple of One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and a couple of T20s, I counted eight (8) back-room men. The respective results for those two tours for the West Indies, were as contrasting as night is to day.

  • Katey on April 21, 2013, 9:51 GMT

    Captains differ in their style and so do coaches. Some are really laid back and others bristle up at any hint of interference. Ian Chappell is talking for Ian Chappell, and has his point, but another captain-coach combination may work just as well on different principles. Trouble comes when they disagree and neither will back down, then who has the final say? Look at Graeme Smith - he tried to be a dictator originally and it didn't work. How many howls went up of Sack him, Sack him! from all directions over many years. But the Protea management didn't and now he has matured and his they are reaping the rewards of patience. (Mind you, patience is probably the most unpopular of all the virtues!). It takes time to make a captain, time and (sometimes very bitter) experience, and I can't see that all the courses in the world can substitute for that. Smith had to change his arrogant approach himself and fortunately he had a big enough heart to do so.

  • Chris_Howard on April 21, 2013, 9:44 GMT

    In cricket, a coach should coach, and the captain should captain. There is a danger (if it hasn't already happened) of the coach becoming the pseudo-captain and the onfield captain is just his puppet.

  • ajaym55 on April 21, 2013, 9:42 GMT

    Ian observations are incisive and to the point. But I am confused. I thought the support staff was there to train, suggest, motivate, rejuvenate etc but not to fill in on decision making. If the OSC (On Scene Commander) cannot implement his own ideas on the field, we will see repeats of "the charge of the Light Brigade" again and again where Earl of Cardigan's orders given far from the battlefield led to the slaughter of the Light Brigade. Support Staff should shut up once the game is on.

  • Simoc on April 21, 2013, 9:26 GMT

    They should change the name from coach to 'media advisor'. That is their only worthwhile input unless they are capable of putting up nets for practice. Obviously players have to be polite to their coach and about them to the media. The coaches are making retirement income and so you listen politely; dismiss it as the normal rhetoric from this tosser, and go out and play with your team. The coach is not part of the team. The coach is vital in all football codes and totally useless in test cricket.

  • on April 21, 2013, 9:06 GMT

    Pornography isn't difficult to define! He should have said:

    "Good captaincy is like GOOD pornography; it's difficult to define but you know it when you see it."

  • Prabhash1985 on April 21, 2013, 8:10 GMT

    Ian Chappell is trying to save the soul of cricket! Thank god! There is at least one!

  • Busie1979 on April 21, 2013, 7:09 GMT

    I understand where Chappell is coming from, but the fact is there is a role for captaincy and there is coaching. The coaches are there to manage performance, identify weaknesses in the opposition, help develop players, etc. In a professional era this is becoming specialised and you need specialist coaches - this is the case in most professional sports. In AFL you have a ruck coach, a forward coach, a backline coach, a midfield coach and then the head coach and assistant coach, plus fitness trainers, medical staff etc. Cricket is not alone here. The only difference is that in cricket the captain traditionally makes more decisions on the field and occasionally off the field than in other sports. That is outdated thinking. Another thing - captains needs to be coached on their captaincy. I have no problems with coaches getting involved with the captaincy. The degree with which this is necessary will depend on the experience and performance of the captain.

  • on April 21, 2013, 6:19 GMT

    Unlike Football, where role of captain is just mere, Cricket strategy mostly depends on the captain. It is necessary for a captain to feel free and take his own decisions rather than giving him suggestion with every minute. The modern day cricket has turned the same, being surrounded by many, a captain feel like being enveloped, and unable to think and act, and that affects the team performance. You can see captain like Kapil, Imran, Chappel, Clive lyod projects the game their own way and that was the reason of their success.

  • rav421 on April 21, 2013, 6:00 GMT

    LOL! That was quite a reference you made to start of your article. You compare captaincy and pornography. You surely have made a great point in this decent article but your opening sentence was just amazing!!

  • nayonika on April 21, 2013, 5:48 GMT

    Ian Chappel as usual is blunt,forthright,precise,frank,and RIGHT. Too many cooks spoil the broth is old adage but we haven't learnt,have we? For 11 chaps playing we see about 7 or 8 fellows in the aircondtioned rooms scheming various advices. Why do we need so many people to advice so few ? Afterall it still is just a game and not a disaster rescue operation! Coaching is fine upto the school or under17 level but to have coaching staff for test teams is ridiculous.

  • Flemo_Gilly on April 21, 2013, 5:42 GMT

    We are lucky to have a take strong leader, lets take selection away from him and the rest will be fine as a captain will always be biased towards guys he likes even though they are not the best performers. . How about having no vice-captain?What role does a vice-captain have any way?We already have a captain, a coach, a batting coach, a bowling coach, a fielding coach, a fitness coach, a high performance manager etc etc - what does a Vice-Captain do?So much of the historical role of captain has already been diminished, so surely VC is just a useless title?In this day and age I would be prepared to say if the captain was out injured for one test only there would be no need to promote anyone to the official position of captain temporarily. Just decisions by committee on field. As for his replacement it has to be Siddle, possibly Warner, the likes of Khawaja and Smith are good future captains but let them get runs first which they will if given a chance.

  • Sooraj4cricket on April 21, 2013, 5:32 GMT

    Perfectly written by Mr.Chappell as always.Showing in plain light the myths of captaincy.Many believe that a player has to learn fron others but i think captaincy is an art and copying makes it artifiical and seldom benificial.Like in India,where many believe Kohli has to be more sangfroid like MSD and be less fervid.But there is only one MSD.Kohli has to follow his aggressive instincts because there anre many captains in world sport succeful that way.Yes there are ups and downs,not just in captaincy but also in life,but the one who shows a large heart stands out.

  • RP225 on April 21, 2013, 5:24 GMT

    I agree with most of the points & articles of Ian. This as well. I find sometimes it becomes more difficult to keep things simple when you see hyper activities around. Warren Buffet as well advises KISS principle. I guess we all need to know how to set priorities on basics and then look into high fundas

  • sarangsrk on April 21, 2013, 4:38 GMT

    Mr Chappell, Always a big fan of your knowledge and views on cricket.However, I don't completely agree with you here. These days, if a captain has to handle his team for off-field issues apart from constant media and travel routines, he would get "burned" in a year. I liked what Dhoni said couple of years back about coaches. He said " I ask the coach (Kirsten then) to prepare the team before the match and then, once on field, I manage it." You need a coach to keep a watch on weaknesses, improvments, trainings etc for the team, a manager to watch any off-field antics especially on tours and physiotherapist. You don't need mental conditioning coach, motivational coach,high-performance coach. If a player needs all of these, he should not be in the team. Playing for your country should be your biggest motivation and physio and coach can help you with any technical or fitness issues.Period.

  • on April 21, 2013, 4:29 GMT

    Yes! Cricket is a simple game. 1. Have bowlers who can take wickets 2. Batsmen who can score runs 3. Fielders who take catches and stop runs 4. A captain who can makes these guys believe in themselves and ensure harmony.

    That's why Windies of 80's under Lloyd succeeded like none other! Lloyd knew what his boys are capable of and just made sure he gave them an environment in which they can bring out the best in themselves! Simple as that! Agree with every word of Ian here!

  • Batmanian on April 21, 2013, 4:23 GMT

    Agree, Ian. This is especially true of Clarke, who's very good in the pavilion timing declarations. But his trouble is he hasn't got the wise counsel onfield - anyone could do front-of-house for Warne and Gilchrist's tactical nous, for example. It's a stab in the dark trying to pick a VC, and it actual matters now because Clarke's injury prone.

  • Yuji9 on April 21, 2013, 3:45 GMT

    Well said Chappelli, once again - just wondering what you think of David Warner coaching his young nephew to play switch-hits and the fact that most coaches have the modern agenda of TV and marketing influence, so less coaching these days involves the fundamentals, and coaches teaching kids how to reverse sweep and scoop at young ages has become the norm. T20 has changed the way batsmen are coached at school, while the recent CA contract list will have huge impacts around the country. Kids will now start with T20 techniques because coaches know it means contracts. Keep it up Chappelli and keep challenging CA and the T20 cancer on batting skills. Australian U-19 and Futures League centuries these days mostly feature a full-toss being switch-hit or reverse pulled plus numerous top-edged reverse sweeps and scoop shots - what do you think of this type of batting? Looks ugly and high risk when done in white clothing, yet it is clearly being practiced and coached???

  • on April 21, 2013, 3:28 GMT

    There was a time, when India didn't criticize or praise players, but celebrated Cricket. When Kapil Dev and David Gower played a Test Match series, which India won, people appreciated the team. The situation was such, that it seemed what people feel, was not as important as what happened in the dressing room, and how the players understood each other. Now, it seems that because people criticize the team, there is no other way for the team to perform, than to act as a team. It seems, the team, and individual players are criticized. I can understand, by looking at documentaries, specially the one on Indo-Pakistan Cricket, by Yaawar Abbas, that it didn't matter about the team, but that India or Pakistan won or lost, to their countrymen. Now, how much money is made, is the reason why people criticize their Cricketers.

  • athreya83 on April 21, 2013, 3:10 GMT

    I don't Agree with you always Mr.Ian C, but i sure do on this! Too many people in the back stage these days, A head coach, A bowling Coach, A batting Coach.. Goddam.. Wish things were kept simple.. KISS it.. Keep it simple.. is something people in the modern day game have forgotten..

    ! I think Clarke is an excellent captain; Sometimes i wish Dhoni is half as aggressive as Clarke is! But India Never had such excellent bowling resources as well ! its the confidence in your bowling attack that inspires aggressive captaincy and India never had the luxury of having world class bowlers!

  • Pete_AU on April 21, 2013, 3:03 GMT

    Chappelli, I am and always have been a big fan. I agree with almost everything you say that I read on here and hear you say on 9. Having said that, I think the time has come to accept that coaching staff, and the head coach, are taking over many of the off-field functions which used to be the preserve of the captain. With the ever increasing professionalism of the game the level of analysis and coaching will only increase.

    Nowadays players are groomed from a young age within an inch of their lives to listen to all feedback they get. I'm not saying the captain should not take a more prominent role in the running of the side such as the era you captained Australia, its just that our current crop of players grew up in a system where everyone had been telling them one thing or another and it would be abspolutely for them to take control in the vein of yesteryear. Anyone with the force of personality required to do so would have had such ability groomed out of them years ago.

  • crickketlover on April 21, 2013, 2:45 GMT

    correct - too many cooks are not good. Similarly too many coaches bring several ideas to confuse the players. Cricket is a simple game and recently it is being made to look so complicated. There should be a clearly defined responsibility for each and every player set by the captain of the team. For example, top order batsmen should be expected to score a century and at the minimum 4 half centuries every 4 test matches and they should be made aware of this expectation to remain in a test side. Reward the players only based on their current performance not on their past performance. Coaches cannot win matches but the captain and his team can.

  • crickketlover on April 21, 2013, 2:45 GMT

    correct - too many cooks are not good. Similarly too many coaches bring several ideas to confuse the players. Cricket is a simple game and recently it is being made to look so complicated. There should be a clearly defined responsibility for each and every player set by the captain of the team. For example, top order batsmen should be expected to score a century and at the minimum 4 half centuries every 4 test matches and they should be made aware of this expectation to remain in a test side. Reward the players only based on their current performance not on their past performance. Coaches cannot win matches but the captain and his team can.

  • Pete_AU on April 21, 2013, 3:03 GMT

    Chappelli, I am and always have been a big fan. I agree with almost everything you say that I read on here and hear you say on 9. Having said that, I think the time has come to accept that coaching staff, and the head coach, are taking over many of the off-field functions which used to be the preserve of the captain. With the ever increasing professionalism of the game the level of analysis and coaching will only increase.

    Nowadays players are groomed from a young age within an inch of their lives to listen to all feedback they get. I'm not saying the captain should not take a more prominent role in the running of the side such as the era you captained Australia, its just that our current crop of players grew up in a system where everyone had been telling them one thing or another and it would be abspolutely for them to take control in the vein of yesteryear. Anyone with the force of personality required to do so would have had such ability groomed out of them years ago.

  • athreya83 on April 21, 2013, 3:10 GMT

    I don't Agree with you always Mr.Ian C, but i sure do on this! Too many people in the back stage these days, A head coach, A bowling Coach, A batting Coach.. Goddam.. Wish things were kept simple.. KISS it.. Keep it simple.. is something people in the modern day game have forgotten..

    ! I think Clarke is an excellent captain; Sometimes i wish Dhoni is half as aggressive as Clarke is! But India Never had such excellent bowling resources as well ! its the confidence in your bowling attack that inspires aggressive captaincy and India never had the luxury of having world class bowlers!

  • on April 21, 2013, 3:28 GMT

    There was a time, when India didn't criticize or praise players, but celebrated Cricket. When Kapil Dev and David Gower played a Test Match series, which India won, people appreciated the team. The situation was such, that it seemed what people feel, was not as important as what happened in the dressing room, and how the players understood each other. Now, it seems that because people criticize the team, there is no other way for the team to perform, than to act as a team. It seems, the team, and individual players are criticized. I can understand, by looking at documentaries, specially the one on Indo-Pakistan Cricket, by Yaawar Abbas, that it didn't matter about the team, but that India or Pakistan won or lost, to their countrymen. Now, how much money is made, is the reason why people criticize their Cricketers.

  • Yuji9 on April 21, 2013, 3:45 GMT

    Well said Chappelli, once again - just wondering what you think of David Warner coaching his young nephew to play switch-hits and the fact that most coaches have the modern agenda of TV and marketing influence, so less coaching these days involves the fundamentals, and coaches teaching kids how to reverse sweep and scoop at young ages has become the norm. T20 has changed the way batsmen are coached at school, while the recent CA contract list will have huge impacts around the country. Kids will now start with T20 techniques because coaches know it means contracts. Keep it up Chappelli and keep challenging CA and the T20 cancer on batting skills. Australian U-19 and Futures League centuries these days mostly feature a full-toss being switch-hit or reverse pulled plus numerous top-edged reverse sweeps and scoop shots - what do you think of this type of batting? Looks ugly and high risk when done in white clothing, yet it is clearly being practiced and coached???

  • Batmanian on April 21, 2013, 4:23 GMT

    Agree, Ian. This is especially true of Clarke, who's very good in the pavilion timing declarations. But his trouble is he hasn't got the wise counsel onfield - anyone could do front-of-house for Warne and Gilchrist's tactical nous, for example. It's a stab in the dark trying to pick a VC, and it actual matters now because Clarke's injury prone.

  • on April 21, 2013, 4:29 GMT

    Yes! Cricket is a simple game. 1. Have bowlers who can take wickets 2. Batsmen who can score runs 3. Fielders who take catches and stop runs 4. A captain who can makes these guys believe in themselves and ensure harmony.

    That's why Windies of 80's under Lloyd succeeded like none other! Lloyd knew what his boys are capable of and just made sure he gave them an environment in which they can bring out the best in themselves! Simple as that! Agree with every word of Ian here!

  • sarangsrk on April 21, 2013, 4:38 GMT

    Mr Chappell, Always a big fan of your knowledge and views on cricket.However, I don't completely agree with you here. These days, if a captain has to handle his team for off-field issues apart from constant media and travel routines, he would get "burned" in a year. I liked what Dhoni said couple of years back about coaches. He said " I ask the coach (Kirsten then) to prepare the team before the match and then, once on field, I manage it." You need a coach to keep a watch on weaknesses, improvments, trainings etc for the team, a manager to watch any off-field antics especially on tours and physiotherapist. You don't need mental conditioning coach, motivational coach,high-performance coach. If a player needs all of these, he should not be in the team. Playing for your country should be your biggest motivation and physio and coach can help you with any technical or fitness issues.Period.

  • RP225 on April 21, 2013, 5:24 GMT

    I agree with most of the points & articles of Ian. This as well. I find sometimes it becomes more difficult to keep things simple when you see hyper activities around. Warren Buffet as well advises KISS principle. I guess we all need to know how to set priorities on basics and then look into high fundas

  • Sooraj4cricket on April 21, 2013, 5:32 GMT

    Perfectly written by Mr.Chappell as always.Showing in plain light the myths of captaincy.Many believe that a player has to learn fron others but i think captaincy is an art and copying makes it artifiical and seldom benificial.Like in India,where many believe Kohli has to be more sangfroid like MSD and be less fervid.But there is only one MSD.Kohli has to follow his aggressive instincts because there anre many captains in world sport succeful that way.Yes there are ups and downs,not just in captaincy but also in life,but the one who shows a large heart stands out.