Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What is the Point of a Vice Captain?

A Captain in grooming. That is what I think it should be.

Surely any cricket team's Vice Captain should be an automatic choice in the first XI, a shrewd thinker who can help the captain with on-field decisions, and someone who could take over as captain of the side in the future. In short, it can be said that a vice-captain is a 'captain under training', much like a prinicpal in the consulting world who is a 'partner under training'.

Just like a principal, who does not show the potential to be a partner, is conveniently asked to move on, a vice-captain who does not show the qualities of being a captain needs to be replaced.

Younis Khan, who spent 2 years under Inzamam as vice captain of the Pakistan team, refused to take over as captain once the big man resigned and retired. Younis had his reasons, and I respect him for those, but then why has the PCB gone back to him and named him as the vice captain of Pakistan?

I'm not doubting Younis Khan's abilities as a captain, nor am I questioning his position in the starting line up of Pakistan - he is a proven performer both as a captain and a player but the PCB knows as well as we do that he will never be captain of Pakistan. Firstly because of his own reluctance and secondly because his career would be over way before that of Shoaib Malik's for him to be able to take over the team (provided ofcourse that Malik remains successful and someone in the PCB does not hold an agenda against him).

Salman Butt was definitely the wrong choice as his own place in the team was doubtful, and Pakistan probably does not have other options besides Younis Khan to look at as far as the vice captaincy is concerned, but then that is a bigger worry in itself. If not him then who? You look around and there seems to be no one.

Maybe Shahid Afridi, but then he doesn't feature in the test plans of Pakistan, and I think its right that he doesn't. Maybe Pakistan can split the vice captaincy for ODIs and Tests with Afridi taking over for the ODIs and someone like Mohammad Asif for the Test matches. Asif was named vice captain after the world cup for the 3 match ODI series against Sri Lanka in May this year, but replaced by Salman Butt for no apparent reason. Why was he replaced? What were the PCB thinking when they appointed him and more importantly what changed their mind?

PCB works in mysterious ways and it worries me that there is no one in that set up that can identify a cricketer in Pakistan with some captaincy potential and stick to that decision.

Make your pitch on this post...

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7 Pitched:

  1. Anonymous said...

    I don't completely agree here. Maybe in an ideal situation where you have a good candidate for such a title, but we don't have one right now in Pakistan. Asif is too young (and a fast bowler at that), Afridi too volatile, and there isn't anyone else you can really trust. I think it makes perfect sense to have Younis as a vice-captain... but the role has to redefined a bit. Why can't the vice-captain just be someone who you know will be a reliable fill-in for a few matches (or a tour or two) if the captain is out due to injury or suspension, but doesn't have any grander aspirations? If you thrust young players (like Asif) in that role, you're not only putting more pressure on them, but you could also be fuelling some instability, considering the political nature of our cricket. I've always disagreed with the eagerness with which young players are made vice-captain (like Salman Butt or Mohd Asif). I always thought Sachin would make a great vice-captain for India, for instance, compared to a Yuvraj (when his place in the team wasn't confirmed) or a Sehwag. But I agree that it is a bit troubling that there isn't any good backup candidate even in the long term... what if Shoib Malik fails as a captain? Who else could take over as a long-term captain, esp if Younis Khan doesn't want it?

  2. Q said...

    You make a valid point Zulfi and that is exactly what Younis Khan is - a filler for Malik whenever he's off the field or injured. But looking at the past, Younis will never be a long term option.

    I also see what u mean when u say 'grander aspirations' as has been the case in the past with vice captains lobbying against the captains so in that way Younis makes perfect sense.

    But the point again, there ain't no one in sight who can take over if Malik doesn't continue. Thats the bigger worry and thats why I think someone needs to be identified and groomed.

    U make a point about Sachin but you see what thats led too. I have a feeling Sachin's captaincy aspirations led to Dravid resigning.

  3. Viswanathan said...


    Vice captaincy, is dished out as an appeasement.

    It has nothing to do with grooming a successor.

  4. Q said...

    Ottayan - if thats the case then it should be.

  5. Unknown said...

    I say Pakistan should make afridi the vice captain

  6. Q said...

    I agree cent percent Tayyab...but for ODIs only. He doesn't merit a place in the test line up.

  7. Unknown said...

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