Monday, November 19, 2007

The Greatest Cricket Captain of the last 4 decades - Part 2.5

I concluded Part 2 of this series with a list of three captains - Waugh, Lloyd, and Chappell. I had initially planned to conclude this series of blogs with a 'Part 3', in which I would have chosen the best captain out of the three I shortlisted. However, taking into consideration all the comments that I received, I decided to do a Part 2.5.

This part lists the top 10 captains in terms of least number of match lost, rather than the top 10 captains in terms of most wins. This takes us back to where we started from - Mikesiva's blog, where he pointed out that the best captains have to be judged on the basis of invincibility, i.e. those that lost the least number of matches / series rather than those who won the most. Thus back to ground zero.

The usual suspects make their presence felt here as well, however there are also a few new entrants on this list, namely Ray Illingworth, Imran Khan, Sunil Gavaskar, and Javed Miandad. These captains do not have such high win ratios, however they are among those who have lost the least number of matches.
From this list, I rule out Ponting, Brearley, and Vaughan for the same reasons presented in Part 1 and 2.

The next step that I followed in 'Part 2' was compare the best captains' performances. Below, I have reconstructed the same table, leaving out those that I left out in 'Part 2' there and adding those that have made an entry on the list above. I have re-added Viv Richards because his 4th position on the above list coupled with the 5th position in 'Part 1' makes him a strong contender for best ever captain.

I was as surprised as you may be to see Imran Khan top the table. Imran Khan averages slightly more than Steve Waugh, however the difference in Imran Khan's career average and his average as a captain is the largest amongst all captains. This highlights the fact that the allrounder led from the front not only with the ball, but also with the bat.

Ray Illingworth can easily be left out of the running based on the numbers above. Javed Miandad and Sunil Gavaskar had similar averages as player and as captain. While both these great batsmen lost very few matches as captain, Gavaskar did not win many either. Miandad has a healthy win ratio of over 41%, however Gavaskar's is below the 20% mark. Gavaskar doesn't have many intangibles either that can make me consider him to be one of the best.
As I move forward, the task of deciding on the best is getting tougher, rather than easier. Moreover, now I'm considering several other areas on which these captains should be judged such as the quality of the teams these men captained, their performance in wins, number of series won and lost, and performance in ODIs. For now, I leave it upon you to discuss these men and judge who is your best.

Expect more parts to this series before the final piece, in which I will decide on my best.

Make your pitch on this post...

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3 Pitched:

  1. Obaid said...

    q, interesting analysis. I think the main thing that accounts for Imran's significantly higher average as captain, is that he started to take his batting seriously during the second part of his career. Also I have heard that he was never the same bowler as before his shin fracture in 1983 or thereabouts, so being the class player that he was, he turned to batting.

    I wish I could get my hands on some dvds so I can go over Inrans performances... even Clive Loyds for that matter

  2. Q said...

    Imran Khan was THE Man! I know people will say that Pakistanis are biased, but the average is there for all to see. His record as a batsman as a captain is better than Steve Waughs! I never expected that.

    I'm going to anlayze this further and see how many 100s and 50s he got, how many match winning innings he played, etc.

  3. Shuvo Kundu said...

    Captains cannot be chosen based on simple stats like matches lost or won. Matches won is important - some captains lost few matches because of negative attitude or poor opposition.
    You have to look at other aspects like quality of the team, quality of the opposition, how much the team was transformed by the captain.

    Gavaskar was a poor captain who always went for draw. Viv Richards does not have anything remarkable as a captain and had a very good team under him.

    Imran, Stephen Fleming, Waugh, Saurav Ganguly are the great captains in the last 25 years who really transformed their teams to match winners.

    Fleming led an ordinary team without stars, but has a very good record as captain against strong teams. Imran changed the Pak team.

    Under Ganguly India started winning matches.

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