Friday, April 25, 2008

Shane Warne: The Worlds Best Captain (the world never saw)?

Q's coverage of the IPL has been legendary if anything else. Hats off to him and everyone for frequenting WellPitched and making the IPL so much more interesting with your comments

Something that has been highlighted on this blog is the interesting player-player rivalries and endless fascinating combinatorics. Warne to Gilchrist... Asif alongside McGrath and so on.

But what about captaincy? What about seeing captains that we never saw or never will see at the international level?

Lets start first with players that we see in action but have never played at the international level. God is witness that Im a huge fan of Manchester United (Arsenal and Chelsea fans - please no throwing stones at my house) and Ryan Giggs. If you dont know already, Giggs is from Wales and has the unenviable distinction of never having played in the World Cup - simply because his Wales team never qualified. What a pity for football at the international level - but thats the way life goes. The same goes for George Best, arguably one of the best football players ever.

If we come back to cricket and the IPL we dont yet have this issue yet, but it could well raise its head. What about some amazing 34 year old Misbah-like batsman who is too old to play for his country but is amazingly well suited for 20/20 cricket? He gets discovered through the IPL but never gets to play for his country. What about one of the many local Indian players - is it possible some of them are world class but will never play at the international level? Possibly but highly unlikely (Sami may bowl swinging yorkers before)

But moving on from individual players we are now seeing captains in the IPL that you have never seen and will never see at the international level. We now know that Laxman is a poor captain - some may argue he is a misfit in 20/20 cricket but Im sure being a natural captain (or lack thereof) has something to do with it too.

What about Warne? He has shown himself to be a true natural leader while captaining the Rajasthan Royals. He has used his players well by making Yusuf Pathan bat up the order, leading from the front by smashing 2 sixes of the last 2 balls to beat the Deccan Chargers. He has also captained Hampshire from 2005 - 2007 in the not so distance past. But due to reasons we are all aware of, he never made it as an Australia Test captain.

I know its too premature to talk about his greatness as a captain in the IPL, but I want to put this out there - is Warne the greatest captain who wasnt? Or would you downgrade him to be one of the better captains in the IPL? Do you have any other players in mind who would have made great captains but never did due to circumstance?

Let us know...

Make your pitch on this post...

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14 Pitched:

  1. Pontings_baldspot said...

    on the contrary, laxman was always considered one of the better thinkers of the game. Ian Chappell thought highly of him and read one of his columns a few years ago when he thought Laxman would be a good captain. Of course he never really cemented his place in the ODI team. I do agree that he is a complete misfit for 20-20. In my opinion, Ravi Shastri and Jadeja would have been great captains fro India.. One succumbed to injuries and the other to money.

  2. obaid said...

    Interesting... If that is the case he would definitely be a better Test captain than One day one.

    What do you think about Warne though?

  3. Homer said...


    The contrast between the Prick and Warne could never be starker - Warne is probably the greatest captain Australia never had.


  4. Anonymous said...

    I have a high regard for Laxman as a batsman, I will not completely discount him from T/20 after these three failures there are many other so called ODI and T20 specialists who have also failed in the tournament so far. But as a captain he sucks,he should have won all three matches which the chargers played so far, T/20 format demands innovation and aggression which Laxman has failed to exhibit.

    Warne seems to be more comfortable with the role and looks quite relaxed and he has been thinking out of the box, the way he kept his cool in the second last over when he refused the single and then took his team home in the final over shows his class and temprament.

    The performance of Warne and McGrath has made me realize what Australia was missing in their bowling attack against India,both of them are performing still a lot better than the current lot.

  5. Anonymous said...

    I think the best thing about Warne the skipper has been that he stuck to unheralded local talents and showed immense faith in them. Even when he captained Hampshire with alpomb, he brought the best out of apparently mediocre players. Same with Rajasthan Royals. the other day he was lavishing praise on Ravindra Jadeja and Dinesh Salunkhe, calling them future stars. Think what a boost that is for those rookie players, coming from a person of Warne's stature. But for his penchant for plump English nurses, Warne could well have been one of the best Australian captains ever.

  6. Homer said...


    to each man his foibles... If Warne liked plump English nurses, Ponting is in love with his hair hat and his greyhounds..

    But Warne is the superior captain..


  7. Anonymous said...

    Oops, lest I'm branded anti-Warne, let me do some air-purifying and
    clear the air.

    I said "but for his penchant for plump English nurses..." because this, plus drug offence etc., went against Warnie when Cricket Australia took a call on captaincy. After all, everyman is entitled to his foibles, isn't it? And Ponting was no St Ricky either when he took over. Punter was an unruly larrikin who made it a habit of being thrown out of discos and nightclubs.

  8. Anonymous said...

    Surely.. warne could have easily become one of the world's best captain.. I m not saying this not because of his fielding changes or bowling changes or immense faith in young and local talent... But he has done something with Rajastan Royals that none of the other franchises have been able to achieve so far.. He has made the Royals play as a single team with spirit and passion.. For that reason too, Hats off to him... Thanks to him, Rajastan Royals has become my second favorite team (after Chennai Super Kings)

    - Robin

  9. Anonymous said...

    My thoughts on the topic are somewhat similar. Had Warne behaved himself off the field, he would have been one helluva captain.

    I remember the Test match in Sri Lanka when Steve Waugh and Jason Gillespie injured themselves.

    In that game, Australia managed to set Lanka 90-odd to win on a crumbling pitch. Thanks to Warne bowling and his cool-headed captaincy, Lanka were reduced to five-down and it turned out to be a fantastic result, Lanka managing to win barely. It was a tasty trailer of what could have been.

    It's exciting to see him play now nonetheless.

  10. Soulberry said...

    Probably. I wouldn't know if he would have been the greatest but he surely would have done a great job of it. Meanwhile, the Wizard continues to cast spells around.

    Yep, kudos to Q for the detailed coverage.

  11. Q said...

    Thanks Obaid and SB for the appreciation.

    Many of u know that besides Sachin and Lara, the other international cricketer i've been in awe of is Shane Warne. I think he is the master. The best bowler to play the game. And he would have made one hell of a captain.

    I have reason to believe that Shane Warne shadow captained Australia during the 2005 ashes because ponting was found wanting and clueless on most occasions.

    What he's done with the Jaipur team, no other franchise has done. Every player in the royals knows his role which is resulting in them playing as a team. While the other teams are mostly playing with just a bunch of stars put together.

    Warne is def the best captain that never was.

    It didn't really hurt Australia though as they have dominated cricket for over a decade but they still missed out in a way.

  12. Anonymous said...

    reading the comments i get the vibe that, Warne not being the captain is an unfortunate event. (correct me if i am wrong ) the fact of the matter is that he was by far one of the most talent cricketer i am seen play if not the most, wasim akram comes to mind. Unfortunately both of them tarnished there image, So no one else is to be blamed for there failure to reach even greater heights.
    So the point is that Shane warne could not have been a great or greatest captain because he was shane warne !(or Akram for that matter) they both are faulted geniuses and in the case of Australia there were people more "stable" and and a little less talented ! (read Steve Waugh). So Shane warne.
    Same can be said about shoaib Akthar ( i in no way mean that he is equally talented as warne or wasim) but his downfall is solely his fault and no one else's

  13. Q said...

    AMK, I agree that there is no one to blame for Warne not captaining Australia or for Wasim not captaining Pakistan for longer apart from themselves.

    The 2 players have lost out due to their own mess ups. True. But cause of that I also believe that Australia and Pakistan have missed out.

    Wasim Akram will never coach Pakistan nor will he ever be in a responsible position within the PCB. Why? Cos the Justice Qayyum inquiry report says that. Is that fair? After what Wasim was up to, probably. Who is to blame? Wasim. Who is missing out? Pakistan.

    See the point? :-)

  14. Soulberry said...

    I am with you on that, Warne is one of my favorite bowlers...Akram and Holding are tops in pace.

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