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Amla to Tendulkar: 10 big names tripped up by captaincy

Wisden India logo Wisden India 17-07-2016

Field placements, form, strategies, weather conditions, pitch deterioration, over-rate … the nuances of the game make captaincy one of the most difficult roles. With those many factors weighing you down, how do you focus on the one skill, be it batting or bowling or wicketkeeping, which got you to that level? Is it really that easy to compartmentalise?

Some may have mastered the art, but some haven’t and here’s a list of those captains who didn’t think it was easy to balance their skill and a leadership role and ended up relinquishing it.

Hashim Amla

Amla to Tendulkar: 10 big names tripped up by captaincy © Getty Images Amla to Tendulkar: 10 big names tripped up by captaincy

Taking over from Graeme Smith in 2014, Amla had a tough task on his hands handling a team in transition. It looked as if South Africa had found another able captain when the prolific batsman guided them to series victories against Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and West Indies. There has been pressure on him since the rain-affected drawn series against Bangladesh and the 3-0 loss against India. His batting meanwhile has suffered. Just when it seemed like things would return to normal after his brilliant 201 against England in the second Test, he announced during a press conference at the end of the Test that he was done being captain.

Rahul Dravid

Amla to Tendulkar: 10 big names tripped up by captaincy © Getty Images Amla to Tendulkar: 10 big names tripped up by captaincy

It felt like the Wall had a crack and he ended up renouncing his role at the helm to improve his batting average. Dravid had taken over from Sourav Ganguly and was instrumental in guiding India to wins Test series victories against West Indies, Bangladesh and England. His run as captain in one-dayers wasn’t as impressive, but more than anything, he had an eye on the future and believed that at 33, he was a tad too old to be handling the affairs of a young side. MS Dhoni was subsequently named captain of the ODI and T20I sides, while Anil Kumble took over as Test skipper.

Ricky Ponting

Amla to Tendulkar: 10 big names tripped up by captaincy © Getty Images Amla to Tendulkar: 10 big names tripped up by captaincy

The writing had been on the wall for a while and it hit tipping point after Australia’s quarterfinal exit from the 2011 World Cup. ‘Punter’ took over as ODI skipper in 2002 and was handed the reins of the Test team in 2004. He moulded Australia into one of the most formidable teams in cricket history. Everywhere they went they won and Ponting was on the forefront, but by the end of the 2008 season, his powers were on the wane, and many were sceptical of him captaining the 2011 World Cup squad.

Sachin Tendulkar

Amla to Tendulkar: 10 big names tripped up by captaincy © AFP Amla to Tendulkar: 10 big names tripped up by captaincy

The stakes were high. When arguably the greatest batsman on earth takes over as captain, great things are expected. And when those great deeds are not delivered, there are repercussions and that’s the story of Tendulkar. He took over as captain in 1996 and was dropped from the post following a disastrous year. He was re-appointed in 1999, but Tendulkar still couldn’t crack the captaincy puzzle. While the process to find his feet as captain was on, his form began to dip and by 2000 he had had enough.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul

Amla to Tendulkar: 10 big names tripped up by captaincy © Getty Images Amla to Tendulkar: 10 big names tripped up by captaincy

Chanderpaul was destined to take over as West Indies captain but after leading the side for 13 months, he threw in the towel. One, because the side had won just one Test match under his leadership from 14 Tests played during the period; two, because his batting was losing its air. To add to it all, there was enough drama brewing in the West Indies Cricket Board for Chanderpaul to want to pack his bags. Brian Lara eventually returned and no one was happier than Chanderpaul himself.

Daniel Vettori

Amla to Tendulkar: 10 big names tripped up by captaincy © Getty Images Amla to Tendulkar: 10 big names tripped up by captaincy

Vettori had the unenviable job of stepping into Stephen Fleming’s shoes. Surprisingly, the young bespectacled left-arm spinner was up to the task. He wasn’t off to a great start but by the end of 2007, he had done well enough to gain the team management’s trust in his abilities as a leader. He wasn’t as docile as Fleming was during his tenure and that got Vettori in some trouble, but New Zealand didn’t mind because they were winning, even if sporadically. After the 2011 World Cup, he stood down from his role as Test captain and retired from the limited formats to focus on his bowling. It helped him get a call back into the ODI side for the 2015 World Cup.

Tillakaratne Dilshan

Amla to Tendulkar: 10 big names tripped up by captaincy © BCCI Amla to Tendulkar: 10 big names tripped up by captaincy

Occupying a post that had seated the likes of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara not long before must have been hard. As one of the most experienced members of the squad, Dilshan was handed the position in 2011. And by 2011 he had witnessed away series loses to England, Pakistan and South Africa, and a home series loss to Australia. Everyone was baying for Dilshan’s blood and soon enough he relented. His average, which was hovering at 41 at the time, was down to 33.60 during his captaincy tenure.

Mohammad Hafeez

Amla to Tendulkar: 10 big names tripped up by captaincy © Getty Images Amla to Tendulkar: 10 big names tripped up by captaincy

Twenty20 is a format Pakistan enjoy, and Misbah-ul-Haq was replaced at the helm of the T20 International side in 2012 by Hafeez. The allrounder was having a great run with both bat and ball in 2012 but by 2014, the greys had crept in and it affected him so much that he even relinquished his role as vice-captain of the one-day side to focus solely on his batting and bowling. His record as captain was 18 wins and 11 losses from 29 games. The decision came soon after Pakistan crashed out in the group stage of the 2014 World T20.

George Bailey

Amla to Tendulkar: 10 big names tripped up by captaincy © Getty Images Amla to Tendulkar: 10 big names tripped up by captaincy

When it was announced in 2012 that Bailey was going to captain the Australia T20I side, everyone was taken aback because here was someone who hadn’t made his international Test debut yet landing a big-time job. John Inverarity’s gamble didn’t pay off as well as hoped, but it was worth a try. Bailey managed 14 victories in the 28 T20Is he lead the side. He was in charge during two World T20 campaigns, but was unable to propel them to the final in either. In the build-up to the 2015 World Cup, Bailey gave up the responsibility to focus on preparation and also to stand a chance of making it to the Test side.

Mohammad Nabi

Amla to Tendulkar: 10 big names tripped up by captaincy © Getty Images Amla to Tendulkar: 10 big names tripped up by captaincy

Undone by a series of poor performances by the team and his own lack of form, Nabi gave up a role he had performed for two years with some success. Having taken over from Nawroz Mangal in 2013, Nabi guided his side to the 2015 World Cup after finishing second in the World Cricket League championship. He also guided them to their maiden appearance in the Asia Cup where they beat Bangladesh for their first win against a Test-playing nation. However, after making just 90 runs from six games and picking up three wickets in the World Cup, he decided it was time to focus on his game a bit more.

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