Tests or T20, skippers in the line of fire | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Tests or T20, skippers in the line of fire

chandigarh Updated: Apr 17, 2012 11:14 IST
Kaushik Chatterji
Kaushik Chatterji
Hindustan Times
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Unlike a national captain, the Indian Premier League counterpart is often asked to multi-task; take rapid decisions on the field, click with the bat or ball and as a fielder, and in some cases, as coach, mentor or the talent scout.

Unlike the five-day or 50-over versions, there isn't much leeway for a captain in a format that lasts one-and-a-half Test sessions, and it boils down to thinking on one's feet amid the frenzy.

"But you still need to take good decisions under pressure," says Kings XI Punjab captain-coach Adam Gilchrist. "That is where we (him and older captains like Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid) can draw on our experience. Of course, in hindsight those decisions may or may not prove to be right."

Get it right, and there's a chance the pundits may laud him, although chances are that only the individual performances will be hailed. Get it wrong though and be prepared to drown in a river of ridicule. Just ask Daniel Vettori.

With his inexperienced regular bowler having gone for plenty, the Bangalore skipper gambled on Virat Kohli, and lost. Not that he was spoilt for choice in Chennai, with the more regular spinner, Chris Gayle, down with cramps.

However, the Kiwi's selection of his final XI hasn't been prudent. In their last two defeats, RCB's "fifth bowler" has gone for 140 runs in eight wicketless overs. Vettori, who did not bowl himself out in the first match, cannot, however, be blamed for Vinay 'million dollar' Kumar's one for 104 in his last eight overs.

The most expensive buy, Ravindra Jadeja, is wasting away at Chennai. Miscalculations by skipper MS Dhoni have meant the all-rounder bowled just two overs against Bangalore at home, and he wasn't used at all in Pune.

Dhoni has looked shaky every time rival batsmen have hit cruise control. He also doesn't seem to be very sure of using R Ashwin at the start, or for that matter slow bowling at any point.

However, Dhoni's India predecessors, Dravid and Ganguly are doing the opposite and it has worked for them, lifting Rajasthan and Pune to the top of the points table.

While Dravid has opted for either Johan Botha or Ankeet Chavan at each start, Ganguly, barring the sole loss on a seaming Mohali track, gave his slower bowlers 37 out of the 60 overs in their three wins. And they returned the favour - picking 10 wickets, conceding just over a run a ball .

Their teams' successes, however, have taken the spotlight off their own batting, or bowling, failures. But across the board, captains have so far failed to lead by example.

The batsmen haven't scored and have just shown flashes; Harbhajan Singh, like his Ranji self, has become a defensive bowler, so has Vettori while wicket keeper Gilchrist is yet to effect a dismissal behind the stumps!

While the older captains, many of whom don't play much active cricket between IPLs, aren't livewires on the field, the younger captains also are feeling the heat, having too little time to think or react.