Sunday, 2 June 2013

The art of captaincy - Mike Brearly

“In Cricket, the role of the captain has been consistently underrated in recent years. This should hardly surprise us. We have been living in an era in which the measurable has increasingly become the predominant mode of valuation.” (Brearly, 1985, p.1).

one key role of the captain is “willing to take in and think about the anxiety of those who work in the team.” (Brearly, 1985, p.4). “This function of containing anxiety and handing it back in a form that can be thought about.” (Brearly, 1985, p.4).

“there is no substitute for the leader’s capacity to bring people together in a common task, so that people come to take pleasure in their joint individual work.” (Brearly, 1985, p.7).

“A French general was once tactlessly asked, after a famous victory, if it hadn’t really been won by his second-in-command. He thought for some time before answering. ‘Maybe so,’ he replied. ‘But one thing is certain: if the battle had been lost I would have lost it.” (Brearly, 1985, p.10).

“Certainly the best play is not necessarily an adequate captain, any more than the best salesman makes a sales manager. Indeed, the outstandingly gifted may well find it difficult to understand the problems of the average performer in their field.” (Brearly, 1985, p.40).

“Towards the end of his career, his wish to ‘make things happen’ had an unsettling effect on the team, especially on the bowlers; for Brian found it hard to let things happen of their own accord, or to allow the bowlers to find a rhythm and to force a batsman into error by tying him down first.” (Brearly, 1985, p.41).

“But the building may first require demolition. Space may be needed for new acquisition or for the development of those already there.” (Brearly, 1985, p.58).

“It is no use having all the knowledge of technique in the world you don’t know, as a coach, how and when to impart it. There horse may not want to drink – or he may be unable to.” (Brearly, 1985, p.68).

“Cricket is so much a matter of confidence; no one can learn unless he believes that he can learn, and that he’s worth teaching. For a batsman very much out of form, Tiger’s instructions would often be that he should arrive early and have a long net, on a good wicket, with bowlers who bowled to his strengths. We need constantly to be reminded of our good qualities in order to get into a frame of mind which is suitable for amending our faults.” (Brearly, 1985, p.68-9).

“Too many wish to turn others into imitations of themselves.” (Brearly, 1985, p.70).

“Yet true fairness is hard to assess. It is simply foolish not to give your best bowlers the first chance on a helpful pitch. And you are bound to keep them going for longer before taking them off when you know how reliably they have taken wickets in such conditions in the past.” (Brearly, 1985, p.172).

“I have argued that an essential ingredient in good captaincy consists of a captain’s respect for his own team. I will end this chapter by remarking that the complete captain also shows respect for the crowd, the umpires and the opposition.” (Brearly, 1985, p.176).

“there is no point in brilliant tactical ideas if they flummox the bowler more than the batsman.” (Brearly, 1985, p.187).

 “Winning is not the be-all and end-all of sport. In cricket the captain has the prime responsibility for the standard of behaviour of the team.” (Brearly, 1985, p.237).

“I would support the now unfashionable view that one of cricket’s lessons for life is to teach its players to take the rough with the smooth and, in particular, to accept the umpire’s decisions, however erroneous.” (Brearly, 1985, p.248).

“However, people do have ideas on their own; and having fairly regular forums in which they can be expressed has the benefits for everyone. The captain has the benefit of ideas from all sources. If they differ from his, he discovers where the opposition lies, and what form it takes. Players learn the habit of thinking for themselves, and not only about their own specialism.” (Brearly, 1985, p.259).

“As captain, one needs several steadily reliable players who are willing to give advice sulking if one does not follow it.” (Brearly, 1985, p.262).

“justice does not reduce so simply to the same treatment for each individual, since different individuals have different needs.” (Brearly, 1985, p.265). “he would ask himself eachday what the members of the party wanted from him.” (Brearly, 1985, p.266).

“Nevertheless, whatever the captain’s style, he must let the team know he is pleased with them when they do well, and feels for them when not. His concern may surprise. I was quite touched when, a week after the event, Greig told me that he could have cried when I ran myself out early in the Delhi.” (Brearly, 1985, p.266).

 “on one point they would all agree. A captain must instill the will to win.” (Brearly, 1985, p.273).

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