5 best Australian captains of all time
When you look at the role of a captain in cricket, it differs significantly from other sports. Unlike in football and other major sports where the coach plans the strategy and the captain is just a presence to oversee things on the field, in cricket, it is up to the captain to take major decisions.
Right from team selection to picking the batting order, fielding placements and bowling changes, these decisions are taken by the captain on the field.
Great teams have great leaders and some of them have been downright inspirational. Australia are one team that have had exceptional leaders. Right from Dave Gregory (Australia’s first ever captain) to Bill Lawry (Australia’s first ODI captain), Allan Border, Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting and now Steve Smith, Australia have always had excellent captains who have led from the front.
Here’s a look at five of the best.
#5 Mark Taylor
The start of Australia’s world domination has to be credited to two people. One is Allan Border and the other, Mark Taylor. Taking over the reins from Border, Taylor stepped into his predecessor's shoes remarkably and ensured Australia turned into a ruthless side that stream-rolled almost every opponent.
Taylor’s attitude towards captaincy was simple – allow the players to play freely and the way they wanted to. A perfect example was the license he gave to Michael Slater, one of the most unheralded batsmen of his era. Taylor gave him confidence and Slater’s aggressive mindset proved decisive in many matches. In fact, nine of Slater’s Test hundreds came under Taylor.
The other stand-out aspect of Taylor’s captaincy was the message he sent out to the opposition. He always went for the win rather than settling for a draw. Then there was the sheer confidence he instilled in the team, making them believe that there was no such thing as a lost cause. 26 wins and 13 losses in Tests, and 36 wins from 67 ODIs are some very good numbers for a captain who took up the job when the team were still in transition.