A case for Gough's call of captaincy

Written by: Mamatha Maben
Published: Wednesday, July 11, 2001, 19:23 [IST]
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Bangalore: The topic on most poll questions and on the minds of cricket followers splash one searching thought, "who do you think will lead England for the second Ashes Test?" Well, when the England selectors sit down to pick their man the thought's going to be, "who do you think should be the man?" A decision, which most people feel won't make much of a difference, as the result of the Ashes is a forgone conclusion.

Despite people's feeling that anybody will do the job, I think the selectors should give this issue a careful thought. Although England looked woefully short in the first Test, this England side did not win matches (in the recent past) out of nowhere. It has talent and a good lot at that. All it needs is a leader.

On most occasions people pick captains just based on seniority, which is putting your foot in the wrong direction. They are given to the belief that a captain can only be as good as the team and so 'captain' is just a post. However, this 'just a post' has a lot of power and honour attached. So there is a lot of lobbying for that post and it eventually goes to the man who has a strong lobbying faction.

A captain, however, should possess a lot of other skills as well - apart form just cricketing. To touch upon it briefly, leadership qualities, the ability to judge the pace and tone of the game, man management and communicative skills, to name a few, are the game tools that a captain needs to have in his kitty.

The England selectors should balance all these before putting their finger on their man.

While the pruned down choice before them might not be exciting (Atherton, Trescothick and Gough), I think Darren Gough might just fit the bill. In fact, he might be a good choice.

Being a bowler, he will be able to spare more thought towards the game without having to contend with the pressures of batting. He has always been the one to rise to a challenge, which is an indicator of the inherent quality of a leader. That apart, he has served England well and long.

Although he has said that he has not thought of it as a long-term prospect and that if it was for one or two matches he is willing to do the job, I think he has more stuff than that and it would do England no harm if the selectors were to check out on Darren Gough.

Having spoken for Darren's case, it doesn't mean Atherton and Trescothick do not have strength of their own but given the three, Gough seems to possess captaincy material and my vote would go to him

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