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How Most Test Captains Are Learning On The Job

CricViz analysis features in this week’s Telegraph newsletter, which shows how many Test skippers are doing the job for the first time in their careers.

CricViz have an agreement in place to provide The Telegraph newspaper in the UK with advanced data analysis and visualisations, delivered to their team of award-winning journalists via our team of analysts.

This week, Tim Wigmore looks at the growing phenomenon of Test captains having little to no FC captaincy experience, when they take the Test reins.

“When Mike Brearley was first appointed England Test captain in 1977, he had already captained Middlesex in six seasons, including lifting the County Championship. This rich education as a skipper helped him become one of England’s finest-ever leaders.”, Wigmore writes, reaffirming that “It is inconceivable that any cricketer today could be afforded such experience before being elevated to Test captaincy.”

“The 12 Test captains in the sport today only led in a combined 102 first-class matches – 8.5 per person – before inheriting the Test jobs. Like Stokes, two of those – Jason Holder and Rashid Khan – never led in a first-class game before captaining in a Test. Kane Williamson, a man many consider the best current Test skipper, only captained in two first-class games before taking on the New Zealand Test job.”

“The rapid divergence between the red and white-ball games could yet mean that future England Test captains have more experience of first-class captaincy. Genuine three-format players are already becoming increasingly rare – only Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer are in England’s best side for all three forms”

Wigmore concludes by suggesting that ” while countries can do more to groom potential future skippers, no amount of leadership training can help if a player is not worth his place in his country’s best side.”


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