The captain of a cricket team, at times also referred to as the skipper, is the appointed leader, having several additional roles and responsibilities over and above those of the 10 others in the playing XI. In cricket, the main role of the captain is to act as a sort of intermediary between the coaching staff and the rest of the team. He becomes part player, part selector or even part coach/mentor, and must be able to successfully balance the various pressures that come with the multiple responsibilities.

As in any other sport, the captain is usually the person who is the most experienced in the squad. However, there have been several instances in Test cricket where the captain has been the least experienced member of the squad.

The captain also needs to have good communication skills and is most likely to be a certainty in the playing XI, as he is responsible for the team selection. It is his task to go out for the toss before the start of a match and then take a call as to whether his side bats or fields first. During the match, the captain decides the team’s batting order, which bowler will open the bowling, who are his first and second bowling changes, and where each fielder will be positioned. While the captain has the final say, decisions taken on the field or in the dressing rooms are often collaborative. A captain’s knowledge of the complexities of cricket strategy and tactics, and shrewdness in the field may contribute significantly to the team’s success. Excelling as a cricket captain requires the incumbent to have a thorough understanding of how the game is played, the ability to strategise, and at the same time lead his teammates both on and off the field.

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Nowadays, with the coaching and support staff as part of the squad, the captain’s decision-making responsibilities are less of a burden. This allows him to fully concentrate on his skills, which are either batting or bowling and at times both. However, despite all that, the captain of a cricket team typically shoulders more responsibility for results than team captains in other sports.

Here’s the first part of a statistical review of the captains in Test cricket since 1877.

First captain for each Test side

Notes:

1) Dave Gregory of Australia is the first captain to win a toss.

2) Owen Dunnell of South Africa and Asghar Afghan of Afghanistan lost their respective Test matches in two days!

3) Ireland’s opening day in Test cricket (May 11, 2018) was washed out because of rain. Play began the next day.

Most Tests as captain

+ Smith's tally includes one Test for the ICC World XI.

Most Tests as captain for other sides

Most Test wins as captain

Kohli-and-Moorthyjpg

Under Virat Kohli's leadership, India has won 33 out of 55 Tests.

 

Most Test defeats as captain

Most Tests drawn as captain

Note: The four captains involved in a tied Test match are Richie Benaud (Australia) and Frank Worrell (West Indies) 1960, Kapil Dev (India) and Allan Border (Australia) in 1986.

Most successful Test captains (minimum 25 Tests as captain)

Least successful Test captains (minimum 25 Tests as captain)

 

To be continued……