May 19, 2013 Sports
Colin E. H. Croft
Especially in Test cricket, regardless of how many runs a team makes, that team simply needs bowlers who can get twenty wickets if they are to win. That is not such a requisite in T-20’s and ODI’s!
If one is a genuine all-rounder, as new West Indies ODI captain Dwayne Bravo is, then responsibilities are greater; four or five aspects to his game; batting, fielding, bowling; most importantly, thinking and leading!
Ideally, batting and bowling should be equally prioritized, along with ubiquitous, expected, excellent fielding, but few all-rounders manage to have that perfect balance! It is really quite tough!
Add the captaincy element to that brew and it becomes as arduous as differential equations!
In Tests and especially ODI’s, it is also hard for all-rounder-captains to know that special required balance of their own necessary input. Most batsman-bowler captains seldom get the bowling element right!
Being a genuine all-rounder always presents challenges as to which aspect should be the main focus.
Sir Garfield Sobers was unique, brilliant at any aspect of his game for West Indies, except, in some minds, his captaincy. To this day, I am sure that he never understood that, as a cricketer, he still has no parallel!
Brian Lara was the first to highlight that Dwayne Bravo is a better batsman than most think, and is more a batting all-rounder than bowling all-rounder. BL was also correct to suggest Dwayne as a good leader too! Now that older Bravo has been handed formal captaincy of West Indies ODI team, starting with the final Champions Trophy competition next month, I am sure that he will cope very well with this added pressure.
Bravo’s fielding is always excellent, but positive production from his bowling and batting, especially in ODI’s, have been much too sporadic to be fully convincing, especially for the talent that he obviously has.
In 137 ODI’s, Bravo has only 2311 runs, at a meagre average of 23.82. He also has 160 wickets at expensive 30.06 average and poor economy rate of 5.32. These are quite underwhelming figures, when isolated.
Overall, though, Bravo’s productions at creases, added to his ebullience and team spirit, allow that he must always be included, even for overall experiences. Now, this new mantle has been passed to him!
Dwayne’s bowling is easily good enough for T-20’s. Four overs for “only” forty runs is very acceptable. But, ten overs for sixty runs is not acceptable in 50 over games. That is the very fine difference in the two!
T-20 cricket suits Dwayne Bravo as perhaps few others in world cricket; his Test captain, Darren Sammy, also coming into that good reckoning too. Indeed, T-20 cricket is a God-send for especially West Indies cricket in recent vintage, our team’s winning last ICC World T-20 only confirming that this team is at its best in that format!
Champions Trophy 2013 cricket is not T-20’s!
It runs 50 overs per team, each bowler having no more than ten overs, not that maximum of four, as in T-20’s. That makes a massive difference to premier bowlers!
What should bowlers prefer in ODI’s? 10 overs, no maidens, sixty runs, three wickets; or; ten overs, three maidens, 35 runs, no wickets? Getting wickets do stop runs, but frugality is the name in 50 overs games!
There is a good reason that most great captains have been either batsmen or wicket-keepers, even both. Few outright bowlers have been great captains. There has been some success for bowling all-rounders.
Ex-England captain, Alex Stewart, Australia’s Adam Gilchrist, India’s present captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, come to mind immediately as wicket-keeper-captains. Rodney Marsh, Mark Boucher, Deryck Murray, Wasim Bari were others.
Wicket-keeper-batsmen-captains have the best of all worlds! They see everything possible!
Most times, an outright bowling captain is a dangerous thing, but West Indies have been fortunate there! Courtney Walsh, with his Herculean efforts, has been the only real “bowling captain” that West Indies has had in history. We all know what “Cuddy” could have produced at the bowling crease.
Most international bowlers worth their salt have to believe that they are Atlas, but even Walsh suffered from that feeling that he could do everything at once. No bowler can deliver from both ends of the pitch simultaneously!
Pakistan has been more the flavor for bowling all-rounder captains, starting with now politician Imran Khan, then Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis.
They all did relatively well, but often over-bowled themselves, believing that they, accepting responsibilities, must do more than practical, to win games.
Cricket is still a team sport, probably more so especially now, with even more T-20’s around too!
Luckily for Dwayne Bravo, the team he will captain at Champions Trophy 2013 contains several players who have already themselves been captains of West Indies in the past.
Those experiences are invaluable, and mean that, in the true sense of the word, players should themselves be captains of their own individual outputs, while helping the team!
Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan, present Test captain Darren Sammy, even vice-captain Denesh Ramdin, have had extensive leadership experiences. With these lieutenants, Dwayne Bravo will do well. Enjoy!
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