Hints to bowlers and captains
Every individual has an off-day every now and then,
cricketers included. It is inevitable that a bowler
will have his share of bad days when the batsmen
give him a real hiding. All a bowler should do in
such a situation is concentrate on the basics. This
will help him emerge from a bad patch even before
he realises it!
Steve Waugh, one of the greatest captains of all time, 'handles' the media
Every bowler should operate to a 'plan'. Just
bowling up-and-down stuff will not get him
anywhere. A bowler should quickly assess the strong
points and weak points of a batsman, and operate
accordingly. A new batsman should always be
attacked, as even the greatest of batsmen are
vulnerable when they are new to the crease.
A bowler can work on his length and direction by
bowling in the nets on a spot marked on the pitch,
with only one stump in position. He should make it
a point to practise bowling over as well as round
Hints to captains
Captaincy is the highest honour that can be
bestowed in the game of cricket, never mind the
increased importance being attached to 'coaches'
nowadays, even at the international level.
A captain enjoys several rights. But in order to
exercise those rights, it is critical for him to be
aware of his responsibilities.
It is essential that the captain enjoys the respect
and confidence of his team. Not only should his
cricket record be noteworthy, but his demeanour off
the field should also be impressive. If the captain
is someone who loves to 'have a good time', his
teammates might not take him all that seriously,
and the morale and discipline of the team can go
for a toss as a result.
A good captain must be a fighter; confident but not
arrogant; firm but not obstinate. He should be able
to take criticism without letting it affect him
The captain should ideally be a specialist batsman.
This is not to say that specialist bowlers are not
mature enough, but the flip-side of having one as
skipper is that he can either over-bowl or
under-bowl himself. A wicketkeeper has to
concentrate hard throughout the game as it is. It
doesn't make sense to add to his burdens by giving
him the captaincy.
It helps if a captain has studied and understood
the laws of cricket. A captain should have a cool
head and sound judgment. This enables him to take
sound decisions, particularly those pertaining to
bowling changes, taking the new ball and making
declarations. A clear plan of action that has been
formulated before the match commences will always
stand a captain in good stead. Yet, this does not
mean that he should be rigid. He should be able to
think on his feet and change his tactics to combat
An extremely handy attribute that a captain can
possess is the ability to detect an opponent's
weakness. Discussions between the captain and his
players during the progress of play can often prove
fruitful, as can meetings after the day's play. A
dictatorial approach rarely helps, and it is
important that all the players be exhorted to think
and contribute to strategies.
Effective man-management is the key. A captain
should look at his team as a group of individuals,
each of whom is a unique human being. He should be
deal differently with each player, in accordance
with their respective temperaments. A captain who
'handles' his players well on as well as off the
field is bound to be successful.
A healthy attitude will never go waste. A bowler
who is getting pasted should be encouraged, not
shouted at, for that is the last thing he wants.
There is also no point in firing a fielder who has
spilt a catch. If the guilty fielder is targeted by
the captain, it is quite likely that he will lose
all his confidence and commit another blunder.
A batsman who has been dismissed off a poor stroke
knows that he has messed it up. In such a
situation, a captain would be better off waiting
for the batsman to realize his mistake instead of
bawling him out. When the player cools down, the
captain could take the player aside and have a firm
but constructive word or two. This can boost the