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Captain (cricket)

File:Pm cricket shots09 5995.jpg
Michael Clarke, current captain of the Australian cricket team in Test and ODI teams.

The captain of a cricket team, often referred to as the skipper,[1] is the appointed leader, having several additional roles and responsibilities over and above those of a regular player. As in other sports, the captain is usually experienced and has good communication skills, who is likely to be one of the most regular members of the team; indeed the captain often has a say in team selection. Before the game the captains toss for innings. During the match the captain decides the team's batting order, who will bowl each over, and where each fielder will be positioned. While the captain has the final say, decisions are often collaborative. A captain's knowledge of the complexities of cricket strategy and tactics, and shrewdness in the field, may contribute significantly to the team's success.

Due to the smaller coaching/management role played out by support staff, as well as the need for greater on-field decision-making, the captain of a cricket team typically shoulders more responsibility for results than team captains in other sports.[2]

Captain's responsibilities

During a match

The toss

Before the start of a match the home captain tosses a coin and the away captain calls heads or tails. The captain who wins the toss is given the choice of whether to bat or bowl first.[2] The decision usually depends on the condition of the pitch and whether it is likely to deteriorate, the weather conditions and the weather forecast.

The decision also depends on the relative strengths of the team's batting and bowling. For instance in Test Cricket, a side with only fast bowlers may choose to bowl first to try to take advantage of any early moisture in the pitch, knowing that it will be much harder to take wickets later in the match. Similarly a side with a weak opening batting pair may choose to bowl first in order to protect their batsmen.[3]

Fielding positions

The captain sets where the fielders will stand, in consultation with the bowler and sometimes other senior players. The fielding positions will usually be dictated by the type of bowler, the batsman's batting style, and the captain's assessment of the state of the match (and hence whether to set an attacking or a defensive field).[2]


The laws governing the Powerplay period during a ODI match were amended on 7 July 2005. Along with the increased number of Powerplay overs from 15 to 20, to enable greater tactical flexibility, the decision of when to The initial fielding restrictions, termed Powerplay 1, apply during the first 10 overs of each innings. The second block of 10 Powerplay overs is divided between the Batting and Bowling Powerplays of 5 continuous overs each. The decision of when to take the batting/bowling powerplay rests the captains of the respective sides.[2][4]


The captain decides when each bowler will bowl. If a batsman is seeking to dominate the current bowler, the captain may ask someone else to bowl; alternatively, keeping the bowler on may be deemed the best chance of getting the batsman out or restricting the scoring rate. If the regular bowlers are not achieving the desired results, the captain may decide to use non-regular bowlers to attempt to unsettle the batsmen. The captain may also change the bowlers around to introduce variation, and to prevent the batsmen getting "set".[2]

In limited overs cricket the captain additionally has to make certain that bowlers bowl no more than their allotted maximum number of overs, and that experienced bowlers are available at the end of the batting side's innings, when the batsmen are usually looking to take risks to attack and score quickly.[2]

In the longer forms of cricket, when a new ball becomes available the captain decides whether to use it.[2]

Batting order

When the team bats, the captain decides the batting order. In professional cricket the captain usually changes the established batting order only for exceptional reasons, because batsmen tend to specialize in batting at certain positions. However, in certain circumstances it may be in the team's interest to change the batting order. If quick runs are needed, a naturally attacking batsman may be promoted up the order. A player who is 'in form' may be promoted to a higher batting position, at the expense of a player who is 'out of form'.[2]

If a wicket falls near the end of a day's play, especially if the light is failing, or if the bowlers seem particularly confident, the captain may choose to send in a non-specialist batsman, referred to as a nightwatchman. If the night watchman does not get out before the end of play then the specialist batsman will have been protected, and will not need to bat until the following day when conditions are likely to have improved. If the nightwatchman does get out, the cost of losing a late wicket will have been minimized, because the specialist batsman is still available to bat.[2]


The captain may declare the team's innings closed at any time, but usually only does so as an attacking ploy, for instance if the captain thinks the team has enough runs to win the match, or if a sudden change in conditions has made it advantageous to bowl rather than bat.[2]


In a two-innings match, if the situation arises the captain decides whether to impose the follow-on.[2]


The captain is also consulted on whether an injured batsman from the opposing team may use a runner when batting. Permission is usually given if the batsman has become injured during the course of the match, but if the batsman was carrying the injury at the start of the match then the captain may refuse. (As from 2012 runners are not allowed and injured batsmen are required to continue batting with the injury or retire hurt.)[5]

Other duties

As well as decisions taken either immediately before or during a match, captains also often have some responsibility for the good running of the cricket club. For instance, he or she may decide when the team is to practice, and for how long. In professional cricket the captain often has some say in who will form the squad from which teams are selected, and may also decide how young up-and-coming players are to be encouraged and improved, and how members of the squad who are not regularly selected for first-team matches are to gain match practice to be kept match-fit.[2]


The captain may be assisted by a vice-captain. This is particularly useful when the captain is forced to leave the field of play during fielding, due to injury or illness (etc.). Some teams also allocate the vice-captain a more or less formal role in assisting with team selection, discipline, field-setting etc. There is no such rule that a vice captain will be appointed as the next captain.[6]

Vice captain may have a say in setting up the batting order along with the captain in consensus seeing the team's capability.

When a limited-overs match is affected by rain or bad light, and the Duckworth Lewis method is used to adjust the target for a team batting second, because of the complexity of the situation, the fielding side's captain may decide to give a piece of paper with the Duckworth Lewis calculations to the vice captain or another player, so that he is not overburdened with duties.

Current captains

Full ICC members

Nation Captain Vice Captain
23x15px Australia Michael Clarke (Test), Aaron Finch (T20) Steve Smith (Test), George Bailey (ODI)
23x15px Bangladesh Mushfiqur Rahim (Test & T20), Mashrafe Mortaza (ODI) Shakib Al Hasan (ODI), Tamim Iqbal
23x15px England Alastair Cook (Test), Eoin Morgan (ODI), Stuart Broad (T20) Joe Root (Test), Jos Buttler (ODI), Eoin Morgan (T20)
Template:Country data IND Virat Kohli (Test), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (ODI & T20) Rohit Sharma (Test) Virat Kohli (ODI & T20)
23x15px New Zealand Brendon McCullum Ross Taylor (Test), Kane Williamson (ODI & T20)
23x15px Pakistan Misbah-ul-Haq (Test), Azhar Ali(ODI), Shahid Afridi (T20), Sarfraz Ahmed
23x15px South Africa Hashim Amla (Test), A. B. de Villiers (ODI), Faf du Plessis (T20) A. B. de Villiers (Test & T20), Hashim Amla (ODI)
23x15px Sri Lanka Angelo Mathews (Test & ODI), Lasith Malinga (T20) Lahiru Thirimanne
23x15px West Indies Denesh Ramdin (Test), Jason Holder (ODI), Darren Sammy (T20) Chris Gayle / Shivnarine Chanderpaul (Test), Dwayne Bravo (T20)
23x15px Zimbabwe Elton Chigumbura (ODI & T20) Hamilton Masakadza

Associate and Affiliate members

Nation Captain Vice Captain
23x15px Afghanistan Mohammad Nabi Mohammad Shahzad
23x15px Argentina Esteban Macdermott
23x15px Belgium Brighton Watambwa
23x15px Bermuda Janeiro Tucker
23x15px Botswana Karabo Modise
23x15px Canada Amarbir Hansra
23x15px Cayman Islands Ronald Ebanks
23x15px China Jiang Shuyao
23x15px Denmark Michael Pedersen Thomas Hansen
23x15px Fiji Jone Seuvou
23x15px France Arun Ayyavooraju
23x15px Germany Asif Khan
23x15px Gibraltar Iain Latin
23x15px Guernsey Jamie Nussbaumer
Template:Country data HKG Jamie Atkinson Waqas Barkat
23x15px Ireland William Porterfield Kevin O'Brien
Template:Country data ISR Herschel Gutman
23x15px Italy Damian Crowley Gayashan Munasinghe
Template:Country data JPN Tatsuro Chino
23x15px Jersey Peter Gough
Template:Country data KEN Rakep Patel
  1. REDIRECT Template:Country data Kuwait
Hisham Mirza Abdullah Akhunzada
23x15px Malaysia Ahmed Faiz Shafiq Sharif
23x15px Namibia Nicolaas Scholtz
File:Flag of Nepal.svg   Nepal Paras Khadka Gyanendra Malla
23x15px Netherlands Peter Borren Michael Swart
23x15px Nigeria Kunle Adegbola Dotun Olatunji
23x15px Papua New Guinea Chris Amini
23x15px Scotland Kyle Coetzer Preston Mommsen
23x15px Oman Sultan Ahmed
Template:Country data KOR Kyungsik Kim
23x15px Singapore Saad Janjua Chetan Suryawanshi
23x15px Suriname Shazam Ramjohn
23x15px Tanzania Hamisi Abdallah
23x15px Thailand Ryan Raina
23x15px Uganda Frank Nsubuga
23x15px United Arab Emirates Khurram Khan Amjad Ali
23x15px United States Neil McGarrell Timroy Allen
23x15px Vanuatu Andrew Mansale
23x15px Zambia Sarfraz Patel Imran Patel



  1. ^ "skipper Definitions". Wordnik. Retrieved 31 January 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "The Role of the Captain". DangerMouse. Retrieved 31 January 2015. 
  3. ^ "Numbers Suggest the Toss Has Never Been More Important in Test Cricket". Bleacher Report. 22 February 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2015. 
  4. ^ "How to Be a Successful Cricket Captain". WikiHow. Retrieved 31 January 2015. 
  5. ^ "Runners abolished, ODI and run-out laws tweaked". ESPN Cricinfo. 27 June 2011. Retrieved 31 January 2015. 
  6. ^ "Enfield Cricket Club - Captains & Player Responsibilities". Enfield Cricket Club. Retrieved 31 January 2015.