What Should Test Captaincy Be?
I remember as a kid in the 1960′s learning cricket and everything was about defence. If I even dared to hit a ball in the air id be assured of getting a hefty chuff around the ear hole. This attitude was transcendent through bowling, fielding and indeed Captaincy as well. A draw was worshipped, rather than taking a chance of winning and then losing
Risk or even the thought of indulging in it just didn’t happen……
The hands on the clock turned and like everything in being. The game of cricket evolved in a ground breaking manner in the mid 1970′s
We watched in awe and stood and applauded in admiration of the West Indies and their creation of Calypso Cricket. That changed the perception of the game for ever.
It was truly liberating with attack being it’s premise. A win at all costs mentality that buried the defensive ethos that the game had been so about since it’s existence. People stood at it’s temple and paid homage and duly tried to emulate it.
Many tried and many failed with only the steam rolling juggernaut of the Australians from the 1990′s till recently truly emulating it.
The pure exhilaration of how these Teams mindsets and tactics devastated all that stood in their way has stayed indelibly in our subliminal’s. To the point where we use them to judge the merits of Teams that have existed alongside them and proceeded them
The critique becomes intense when we detect a safety first prose, rather than win at all costs
Though forgotten amongst the condemnation is the fact that both the West Indies Team and Australian Team had some of the best players in the games history. So it allowed supremely attacking intents by the calibre of player they had. In the knowledge that even if they were pressured. They were good enough to prevail.
They simply played to their strengths, which were peerless and abundant and duly allowed dominance in the game. The same calibre in no way exists in this age and as a result we should adjust our expectations
Even amongst this realisation. We are unaccepting of it with our own selfish yearns being the driving force behind this. For we want to see the theatre of a real contest where all three results are on offer. Set up by sporting declarations or attack minded tactics even if it means the creator of this crashes and burns.
That is no consequence to us and herein lies the key.
For we can be scathing in what we deemed the ridiculously defensive declaration of England’s Captain Andrew Strauss against Sri Lanka at Lords. Then we were rankled again by India’s M.S.Dhoni being presented with a very attainable chase against the West Indies. Only to forego it and preach the merits of banking the series lead that he already had.
Though who are we to act in this manner. For cricket, like life is about being content with what you have, rather than chancing to get more.Especially when there is no benefit to be gained by going for more. Thus sense is seen in Captains being content with sitting on a 1 nil lead in a 3 Test series.
Instead of chancing it to make it 2 nil, where only ego is the reward and embarrassment the consequence