Captaincy comes with its own set of challenges

By ANJUM CHOPRA, former captain of Indian women's cricket team.

Reading Time: 3 minutes


Captaincy! The word itself is so powerful that it can prompt anyone to have an opinion – either for or against it. And when the subject is related to cricket, the discussions, analyses and opinions on it can be endless.

Captaincy in the field of cricket is possibly one of the most sought after positions which is priceless. Not that captaincy in any other sport is less important, but the decision making and the adeptness at every step of the game makes it more spotlight driven.

The position is desired by those players who feel they can add maximum value among the group of talented players.

So, if it is so desirable, what makes players relinquish it?

There has to be a strong enough reason and situation for a player to take such a decision. In the earlier era, we might not have heard of relinquishing captaincy, but nowadays it is no longer a surprising element. It can still raise eyebrows though.

Virat Kohli relinquishing T20 International captaincy of India after the upcoming T20 World Cup made headlines, for the simple reason that he is the most followed cricketer of his generation. Someone whose name is synonymous with Indian cricket since the last decade.

READ ALSO: Rohit Sharma an obvious choice as captain after Virat Kohli

Multiple formats, workload and a shade more as a captain and growing off-field responsibilities just provide lesser time to unwind and relax.

Suzie Bates, a former New Zealand women’s team captain, decided to give up captaincy in 2018, just prior to the ICC women’s T20 World Cup in the West Indies. After being at the helm for seven years, Bates felt she did not have the “energy the captaincy deserved”.

Bates is a double international having played both basketball and cricket for New Zealand. Those who know about performing consistently and regularly at the highest level, know the importance of keeping themselves in the best shape (physically and mentally) possible at all times.

This glorious title, captaincy, comes with its own set of challenges. It will be unimaginable to think that anyone who has been at the helm has had a smooth sail. It is essential to keep the balance between being a player and a captain in the dressing room.

The thought process for the present and future needs to be in sync and acceptable with the authorities. One is required to be a leader and a follower in the same breath. A smile with immense energy and positivity towards all in every situation is an unspoken, unwritten rule.

Australian captain Meg Lanning and Indian captain Mithali Raj. Source: Cricket.com
Australian captain Meg Lanning and Indian captain Mithali Raj. Source: Cricket.com

Decision-making is an art, not a science. Hence ‘captain courageous’ should be considered a humble appreciation.

The decision to accept captaincy brings with it a plate full of opportunities and responsibilities, which are always seen in bright light. But the decision to relinquish it provokes more questions than appreciation. The decision is never easy and hence the one taking it should be respected and appreciated more.

We do have an example in the Indian women’s team where Mithali Raj captains the Test and ODI teams while Harmanpreet Kaur leads the T20 side.

The men’s team will pass on the T20I baton to its next able leader who will take up the challenge in all readiness and positivity for taking the team ahead.


READ ALSO: Ind v Aus women’s cricket: same team, new mindset

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