Sat | May 27, 2017

Captaincy crisis in cricket

Published:Friday | October 31, 2014 | 10:00 AM
The three captains for the various senior West Indies cricket teams, Dwayne Bravo (left), Denesh Ramdin (centre) and Darren Sammy.

One of the long-standing effects of this impasse between the West Indies Cricket Bord (WICB), West Indies Players' Association (WIPA), and the senior West Indies players could be that West Indies may be looking at new captains for the three different versions of the game. The ripple effects from walking out on the India tour are going to affect our cricket in every facet, not least of which is who players will be taking instructions from on the field of play.

I don't see Bravo captaining another West Indies team any time soon; indeed, his days as the ODI skipper may well be over. I don't see how the board will trust Bravo again. Who will replace him, however, is another story altogether.

Former captain of all three units, Darren Sammy, would be an obvious choice to replace Bravo, but, he too, was also part of the rebel group that left India suddenly. So, too, was Test captain Denesh Ramdin. Other potential candidates like Pollard were seen to be too integral to the 'strike', and he may not be the board's choice at the moment either.

So unless the board is prepared to completely forgive the players' recent sins (and I don't foresee that), we may really be looking at three new captains. What are the likely options? If we accept that none on that Indian tour would be chosen to lead a West Indies team anytime soon, the options are not all that rosy.

For the Test side, I could see them handing the captaincy to Kraigg Brathwaite. He is raw, but he looks settled at the top of the order and will be there for the long haul. I've seen him captain and he is not bad. He goes about his business quietly, but he knows his cricket, and there is a quiet respect for him in and around that team.

Possible candidates

Marlon Samuels might be the next best candidate for Tests, but I don't think captaincy comes naturally to him. He is too reserved, too much a lone wolf to do well in the role. His captaincy in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) lacked inspiration. Marlon should be told to concentrate on his batting.

Neither Chanderpaul nor Gayle should be brought back to lead us. They are in the twilight of their careers. You don't want a stopgap to be your Test captain, but someone who can be groomed into the rule over the long haul. If Tamar Lambert had a big first-class season last year, the board could do a Reifer with him, but Tamar's powers as a batsman are waning.

Brathwaite doesn't play in the shorter versions, so that leaves us with two other captains, or at least one. The best 50-over players we had were on that Indian tour, and finding someone from outside isn't easy.

What, though, about Lendl Simmonds to lead us in the ODIs? He left the tour because of injury and, therefore, doesn't have the same baggage around him as others do. He is more or less a settled member of the ODI team, and from what I can see from afar, he looks like he has a wise head on his shoulders. He has been around a long time, and I don't think he would struggle to get the respect from his players. I'm not sure what Simmonds' captaincy credentials are, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and he may well prove to be the straw that we have to clutch at.

For the T20s, I would give the job to Gayle. He was impressive for Jamaica over the two seasons in the CPL and understands the intricacies of that game probably more than any body else in the squad. I wouldn't make him captain the Test side because I think we should leave that spot for somebody who will be there for at least another six to eight years. I don't see Gayle going that long in Tests.

In fact, now that Gayle has played more than 100 Tests, I wouldn't be surprised if Gayle gives up Tests for the shorter versions sooner rather than later. It's clear his body is finding it harder and harder to cope with the rigours of the game. He may be more valuable to us in the shorter versions where we can still be world champions again, as opposed to Test cricket, where even with Gayle we will struggle against the best teams.

Those are my views. What say you?

Orville Higgins is a sports journalist at KLAS ESPN Sports 89 FM. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.