The captain of a cricket team, often referred to as the skipper,[3] is the appointed leader, having several additional roles and responsibilities over and above those of the other players. As in other sports, the captain is usually experienced and has good communication skills, and is likely to be one of the most regular members of the team, as the captain is responsible for the 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.

Graeme Smith (left) holds the record for most Test matches as captain, as well as most Test wins.[1] Steve Waugh (right) is the most successful Test captain, with a winning ratio of 72%.[2]
Some countries opt for a split captaincy, with different captains for different formats to manage workload. Tim Southee (left) captains New Zealand in Tests, while Kane Williamson (right) leads the team in ODIs and T20Is.

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.[4]

Captain's responsibilities edit

During a match edit

The toss edit

Starting from team selection and then 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.[4] 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 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.[5]

Fielding positions edit

The captain decides 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).[4]

Bowling edit

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".[4]

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.[4]

In the longer forms of cricket, when a new ball becomes available the captain decides whether to use it, and when given that it can be taken any time after it becomes available.[4]

Batting order edit

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 specialise 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'.[4]

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 nightwatchman does not get out before the end of that day's 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 minimised, because the specialist batsman is still available to bat.[4]

Declarations edit

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.[4]

Follow-on edit

In a two-innings match, if the situation arises the captain decides whether to impose the follow-on.[4]


Fielding captains may withdraw appeals with consent of the umpires.[6] This often occurs in cases of injury, miscommunication, or unsportsmanlike conduct, and is considered to uphold the spirit of cricket and fair play within the game.

Miscellaneous edit

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 of 2012, runners are not allowed in Test cricket and injured batsmen are required to continue batting with the injury or retire hurt.)[7]

Other duties edit

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, they 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.[4]

Prior to July 2015, the captain was responsible for deciding when to take batting and bowling powerplays in limited overs matches.[8]

Vice-captain edit

Vice-captains are sometimes considered the full-time successor to the incumbent captain. Michael Clarke was Australia's vice-captain for three years before succeeding Ricky Ponting as captain in 2011.[9]

The captain may be assisted by a vice-captain or in some instances joint vice-captains. This is particularly useful if the captain is forced to leave the field of play during fielding. Some teams also allocate the vice-captain a more or less formal role in assisting with team selection, discipline, field-setting and so on. Sometimes the role of vice-captain is seen as preparation for the player(s) becoming the captain of the side in future.[10]

Current men's international captains edit

ICC Full Members edit

Nation Format Captain Vice-captain(s)
  Afghanistan[11] Test Hashmatullah Shahidi Rahmat Shah
ODI Vacant
T20I Rashid Khan Ibrahim Zadran
  Australia[12][13][14][15] Test Pat Cummins Steve Smith / Travis Head
ODI Mitchell Marsh
T20I Mitchell Marsh Matthew Wade
  Bangladesh[16] Test Najmul Hossain Shanto Vacant
  England[17][18][19] Test Ben Stokes Ollie Pope
ODI Jos Buttler Vacant
  India[20][21][22][23] Test Rohit Sharma Jasprit Bumrah
ODI Hardik Pandya
  Ireland[24] Test Andrew Balbirnie Paul Stirling
ODI Paul Stirling Vacant
  New Zealand[25] Test Tim Southee Tom Latham
ODI Kane Williamson
T20I Mitchell Santner
  Pakistan[26][27][28] Test Shan Masood Vacant
ODI Vacant
T20I Shaheen Shah Afridi Mohammad Rizwan
  South Africa[29][30][31][32][33] Test Temba Bavuma Neil Brand
ODI Aiden Markram
T20I Aiden Markram Vacant
  Sri Lanka[34][35] Test Dhananjaya de Silva Kusal Mendis
ODI Kusal Mendis Charith Asalanka
T20I Wanindu Hasaranga
  West Indies[36][37][38][39] Test Kraigg Brathwaite Alzarri Joseph
ODI Shai Hope
T20I Rovman Powell Vacant
  Zimbabwe[40] Test Craig Ervine
ODI Sean Williams
T20I Sikandar Raza

Associate Members edit

Nation Captain Vice-captain
  Argentina Daniel Sutton
  Austria Razmal Shigiwal
  Bahamas Gregory Taylor
  Bahrain Al Amin Shehzad
  Belgium Shaheryar Butt Nemish Mehta
  Belize Kenton Young
  Bermuda Terryn Fray
  Bhutan Jigme Singye
  Botswana Karabo Modise
  Brazil Rashid Bazigar
  Bulgaria Prakash Mishra
  Cameroon Solefack James
  Canada Saad Bin Zafar
  Cayman Islands Ronald Ebanks
  Chile Kamlesh Gupta
  China Jiang Shuyao
  Costa Rica Christopher Prasad
  Cyprus Michalis Kyriacou
  Czech Republic Arun Ashokan
  Denmark Hamid Shah
  Estonia Marko Vaik
  Eswatini Naeem Gull
  Fiji Jone Seuvou
  Finland Nathan Collins
  France Arun Ayyavooraju
  Germany Rishi Pillai
  Ghana Obed Harvey
  Gibraltar Balaji Pai
  Greece Anastasios Manousis
  Guernsey Jamie Nussbaumer
  Hong Kong Nizakat Khan Kinchit Shah
  Hungary Abhijeet Ahuja
  Iran Dad Dahani
  Isle of Man Matthew Ansell
  Israel Herschel Gutman
  Italy Gayashan Munasinghe
  Japan Tatsuro Chino
  Jersey Charles Perchard
  Kenya Shem Ngoche
  Kuwait Mohammad Amin
  Lesotho Samir Patel
  Luxembourg Joost Mees
  Malawi Moazzam Baig
  Malaysia Ahmed Faiz Virandeep Singh
  Maldives Mohamed Mafooz
  Malta Bikram Arora
  Mexico Tarun Sharma
  Mozambique Kaleem Shah
  Namibia Gerhard Erasmus David Wiese
    Nepal Rohit Paudel Vacant
  Netherlands Scott Edwards Vacant
  Nigeria Joshua Ayannaike Dotun Olatunji
  Norway Raza Iqbal
  Oman Zeeshan Maqsood
  Panama Imran Bulbulia
  Papua New Guinea Assad Vala
  Peru Matthew Spry
  Philippines Jonathan Hill
  Portugal Najjam Shahzad
  Qatar Iqbal Hussain Mohammed Rizlan
  Romania Ramesh Satheesan
  Rwanda Clinton Rubagumya
  Samoa Dom Michael
  Saudi Arabia Shoaib Ali
  Scotland Richie Berrington Matthew Cross
  Serbia Aleksa Djorovic
  Seychelles Kaushalkumar Patel
  Sierra Leone Lansana Lamin
  Singapore Amjad Mahboob Aritra Dutta
  South Korea Kyungsik Kim
  Spain Christian Munoz-Mills
  Suriname Shazam Ramjohn
  Sweden Abhijit Venkatesh
  Tanzania Hamisi Abdallah
  Thailand Ryan Raina
  Turkey Recep Ulutuna
  Uganda Frank Nsubuga
  United Arab Emirates Muhammad Waseem
  United States Monank Patel Steven Taylor
  Vanuatu Andrew Mansale

Current women's international captains edit

ICC Full Members edit

Nation Format Captain Vice-captain
  Australia Test Alyssa Healy Tahlia McGrath
  Bangladesh Test Nigar Sultana Nahida Akter
  England Test Heather Knight Nat Sciver-Brunt
  India Test Harmanpreet Kaur Smriti Mandhana
  Ireland Test Laura Delany Gaby Lewis
  New Zealand Test Sophie Devine Vacant
  Pakistan Test Nida Dar Fatima Sana
  South Africa Test Suné Luus Vacant
  Sri Lanka Test Chamari Athapaththu Oshadi Ranasinghe
  West Indies Test Hayley Matthews Shemaine Campbelle
  Zimbabwe Test Mary-Anne Musonda Josephine Nkomo

Associate Members edit

Nation Captain Vice-captain
  Botswana Laura Mophakedi
  Brazil Roberta Moretti Avery
  Chile Jeannette Gonzalez
  China Huang Zhuo
  France Marie Violleau
  Germany Anuradha Doddaballapur Christina Gough
  Hong Kong Kary Chan
  Iran Nasimeh Rahshetaei
  Jersey Rosa Hill
  Kenya Queentor Abel Sharon Juma
  Lesotho Boitumelo Phelenyane
  Malawi Mary Mabvuka
  Mexico Caroline Owen
  Mozambique Fatima Guirrugo
  Namibia Irene van Zyl Yasmeen Khan
    Nepal Rubina Chhetri Indu Barma
  Nigeria Samantha Agazuma
  Papua New Guinea Kaia Arua
  Rwanda Sarah Uwera
  Western Samoa Regina Lili'i
  Sierra Leone Linda Bull
  Singapore Shafina Mahesh
  South Korea Inyeong Oh
  Spain Elspeth Fowler
  Tanzania Fatuma Kibasu
  Thailand Naruemol Chaiwai Nannapat Koncharoenkai
  Uganda Rita Musamali
  United Arab Emirates Chaya Mughal
  United States Sindhu Sriharsha
  Vanuatu Selina Solman

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Records / Test matches / Individual records (captains, players, umpires) / Most matches as captain". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  2. ^ "Records / Test matches / Individual records (captains, players, umpires) / Most matches as captain". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  3. ^ ""skipper" Definitions". Wordnik. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "The Role of the Captain". DangerMouse. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  5. ^ "Numbers Suggest the Toss Has Never Been More Important in Test Cricket". Bleacher Report. 22 February 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  6. ^ "Appeals Law | MCC". Retrieved 10 December 2023.
  7. ^ "Runners abolished, ODI and run-out laws tweaked". ESPN Cricinfo. 27 June 2011. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  8. ^ Gollapudi, Nagraj (26 June 2015). "Bowlers benefit from ODI rule changes". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
  9. ^ Brettig, Daniel (8 August 2015). "Clarke announces retirement after Ashes". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  10. ^ "Enfield Cricket Club – Captains & Player Responsibilities". Enfield Cricket Club. Archived from the original on 1 February 2015. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  11. ^ "Asghar Afghan sacked as Afghanistan opt for split captaincy". 1 June 2021. Retrieved 1 June 2021.
  12. ^ "Cummins confirmed as Test captain, Smith his deputy". Retrieved 26 November 2021.
  13. ^ "Cummins named Australia's ODI captain". Retrieved 18 October 2022.
  14. ^ "Ready to captain Australia as long as long as the team needs me: Mitchell Marsh". India Today. 22 August 2023. Retrieved 17 December 2023.
  15. ^ "Travis Head announcement delights cricket fans in huge Pat Cummins captaincy call". Yahoo! Sports. 14 December 2023. Retrieved 17 December 2023.
  16. ^ "Najmul Hossain Shanto appointed Bangladesh captain for all formats". Cricbuzz. 12 February 2024. Retrieved 17 February 2024.
  17. ^ "Ben Stokes appointed as England's new Test captain". Retrieved 28 April 2022.
  18. ^ "Buttler confirmed as England's new white-ball captain following Eoin Morgan's retirement". Sky Sports. Retrieved 1 July 2022.
  19. ^ "Ollie Pope confirmed as England's full-time Test vice-captain". The Cricketer. 16 May 2023. Retrieved 17 December 2023.
  20. ^ "Rohit named India's ODI and T20I captain as India announce Test squad for SA tour". International Cricket Council. Retrieved 8 December 2021.
  21. ^ "Rohit announced as India's full-time Test captain". International Cricket Council. Retrieved 19 February 2022.
  22. ^ "No Virat, Rohit Again! Ajit Agarkar's Selection Committee to Continue with Hardi as Captain: Report". 5 July 2023.
  23. ^ "'Still feels like a dream': Suryakumar Yadav on becoming India's new T20I vice-captain". The Times of India. 28 December 2022.
  24. ^ "Balbirnie appointed Ireland T20I captain". 29 November 2019.
  25. ^ "Kane Williamson steps down as New Zealand Test captain". espncricinfo. Retrieved 15 December 2022.
  26. ^ "Babar Azam step down as Pcb captain in all formats. Shan Masood appointed as test captain and Shaheen Shah Afridi as t20 captain : PCB chief executive". The Times of India. 30 November 2020. Retrieved 16 May 2023.
  27. ^ "It 'was unimaginable but dreams do come true', Shadab Khan says after being named Pakistan vice-captain". Batting with Bimal. 19 October 2020. Retrieved 16 May 2023.
  28. ^ "Shaheen Afridi returns to Test side for Sri Lanka tour". 10 January 2014. Retrieved 13 September 2023.
  29. ^ "South Africa name Dean Elgar Test captain and Temba Bavuma ODI and T20I captain". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  30. ^ "Bavuma replaces Elgar as Test captain, relinquishes T20 captaincy". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 19 February 2023.
  31. ^ "Aiden Markram Appointed New Captain Of South Africa Men's T20I Team For West Indies Series". ABP News. 6 March 2023. Retrieved 17 February 2024.
  32. ^ "Why South Africa named uncapped Neil Brand as captain for New Zealand tour?". Business Standard. 31 December 2023. Retrieved 17 February 2024.
  33. ^ "ODI World Cup 2023: Having IPL experience within the camp helps us as a team, says Markram". Sportstar. 23 October 2023. Retrieved 17 February 2024.
  34. ^ "Dhananjaya de Silva named vice-captain in Sri Lanka Test squad". Daily FT. 14 July 2023. Retrieved 31 December 2023.
  35. ^ "Hasaranga named Sri Lanka's T20I skipper, Mendis to lead ODI side". Sportstar. 30 December 2023. Retrieved 31 December 2023.
  36. ^ "Kraigg Brathwaite replaces Jason Holder as West Indies Test captain". ESPNcricinfo. 12 March 2021. Retrieved 17 February 2024.
  37. ^ "Shai Hope and Rovman Powell take charge as West Indies white-ball captains". ESPNcricinfo. 15 February 2023. Retrieved 17 February 2024.
  38. ^ "Alzarri Joseph named vice-captain as West Indies announces 15-man squad for Australia Tests". Cricket Times. 21 December 2023. Retrieved 25 December 2023.
  39. ^ "Alzarri Joseph named vice-captain as West Indies name squad for England ODIs, Pooran and Holder missing". myKhel. 21 November 2023. Retrieved 25 December 2023.
  40. ^ "Zimbabwe name Craig Ervine as limited overs captain; Sean Williams to continue leading in Tests". Cricbuzz. Retrieved 7 March 2022.

External links edit