What makes a great captain? Being an astute tactician helps, having good motivational skills is important, but for one of the best leaders of men in international cricket at the moment, Johan Botha, adopting an instinctive approach is often the decisive factor.
The skipper of South
African T20 side Warriors, Botha feels working under Shane Warne at the Rajasthan Royals this season was an eye-opening experience. The 29-year-old even picked up a few tips from the Aussie leg-spin legend.
"Warnie was a very instinctive captain. His captaincy just goes to show that sometimes it's very important to go with that gut feeling. It may seem like a gamble, and it won't always work out, but trying something and not succeeding is a better feeling than regretting a missed opportunity," Botha told HT.
He benefited directly from Warne's maverick captaincy. The Aussie's decision to slot Botha as a pinch-hitter and promote him up the batting order paid dividends as Botha struck a couple of match-winning innings. He feels it's this ability to think out of the box that differentiates great captains, from the merely good ones.
Botha, however, cautions that as good as the captain may be, in the end it boils down to the unit. "A captain is only as good as his team allows him to be," said the off-spinner.
Having captained South Africa's T20 side for a year, he lost out to AB de Villiers, when Cricket South Africa (CSA) named the talented middle-order batsman as the new ODI and T20 skipper.
However, a fractured left hand ruled him out of his debut series as captain - against Australia next month.
Asked if he sees himself getting the call, Botha wasn't optimistic. "I don't know who's going to captain the side because I haven't had any communication with CSA. However, I'd assume Hashim Amla (who was appointed de Villiers' deputy) will lead the team in AB's absence," he said.