Captaincy is an important aspect in a tournament like the World Cup and these players will be tested to the hilt. World Cup 2019 is now nearly four weeks away and like we established, it’s going to be a battle among 10 captains who will fight it out against each other to reach the semis.
Gulbadin was appointed as the skipper of the Afghanistan ODI team recently in a shock move when their cricket board decided to sack Asghar Afghan from the helm. Gulbadin Naib is a decent all-rounder but the pressure of captaincy might affect his show on the field. Though there is a dangerous side at his disposal and the privilege of starting as the underdogs, Afghanistan can do well under him. However, his lack of experience and unproven leadership skills could cause him trouble.
Perhaps the most shocking move made by Sri Lanka cricket in recent times. Dimuth hasn’t featured in an ODI for his country since 2015 and he is all set to lead the island nation in the upcoming event. Karunaratane’s strike rate has improved in recent times and his batting coupled with his leadership skills makes him an obvious choice for the marquee event. However, considering the fact that he hasn’t featured in an ODI for nearly 4 years now and his inexperience in leading his national side in white-ball cricket leaves him in abackfoot.
Jason Holder is still very young and he has been the captain of the Windies for a while now, learning a lot in the process. While winning against the top-ranked teams remains his ultimate goal, Holder has done well to carry the team on his shoulders to the point where they are now being looked at as a team to beat. Holder has been leading from the front in recent times and has certainly proven that he can be a source of inspiration for his team. With the return of some big stars of the Windies Cricket, Holder’s patience will hopefully be awarded. He led the team in the previous edition of the tournament as well and looks more equipped now at the position with his even more polished all-round skills.
The Pakistan skipper’s recent run with the bat and results hasn’t been great. However, he is one of the most experienced captains going around at the moment and he led Pakistan to the Champions Trophy title against India. Sarfaraz has a proven track record but as we established, a poor run of results has left him under pressure and with him being a world-class player, he is bound to deliver soon enough. While Ahmed isn’t known to keep a calm head on the field, often letting out expletives whenever his troops commit a mistake, his ability to seal those crunch moments with his captaincy has come under the radar. It is evident that his recent form is affecting his leadership skills as well but once he gets going with the bat, his side will be the team to beat.
The revival of Bangladesh Cricket post the 2015 World Cup had Mashrafe Mortaza playing a major role in it. Mortaza never let his injuries get in the way of his captaincy and his leadership has certainly benefited Bangladesh and their rise in the International circuit. They lost three finals (2 Asia Cup and Nidahas Trophy 2018) against India and it is clear that they have the capability to win on the big stage and not just cause ‘upsets’.
Aaron Finch took over the mantle in the ODI format when his side was in a dire need of inspiration and despite his barren run with the bat in the initial matches against India, his captaincy was on point. Australia lost two of its biggest stalwarts in recent times post the ball-tampering episode in Newlands. Finch was left to lead a depleted and an underperforming side which had lost a majority of its ODIs in 2018, home and away. However, his captaincy in the away series against India at the start of 2018 which saw his team fall into a 2-0 trail and then rising back up to defeat the hosts by a 3-2 margin is what really gave the confidence to his team. His winning run as a captain continued when the Men in Yellow whitewashed Pakistan in the five-match ODI series and are currently on a nine-match winning streak.
Finch was awarded the captaincy for the upcoming World Cup and now, he will also have Steve Smith and DavidWarner’s assistance on the field.
Considered as the next calm head after MS Dhoni, Kane Williamson is one of the best batsmen and captains going around at the moment. Williamson is deceptive in his captaincy as given his nature, one would expect him to be defensive in his approach. But the Kiwi is one of the most aggressive captains at the moment in his field settings and bowling changes. Williamson has got a good crop of bowlers and his ability to rotate them is even better. Williamson is known to lead from the front and he is no alien to England conditions. Rather he thrives in demanding circumstances like he did in IPL 2018 leading SRH to the finals. Williamson has been a blessing for New Zealand and no doubt, he has been the perfect replacement for Brendon McCullum.
Still very new in his captaincy career, Virat is the best batsman in the world but he is still learning from one of the most successful captains in the business, MS Dhoni.
Kohli has tasted immense success in his captaincy career so far but his inability to field a settled playing XI and to seize those crunch moments is what puts a minor spot on him. Virat has a decent record as a captain but just the fact that he has taken over the reins from Dhoni translates to ‘he can do better’. However, it can be seen that in the absence of MS Dhoni, Virat’s captaincy has been questionable. Still, in his learning curve, Virat has a long way to go as a captain and so far he has been good but has the potential to be the best. Leading India in the World Cup is an altogether different experience and he will surely come out as a better skipper after the tournament.
The best captain going into the World Cup 2019 is Eoin Morgan. Following their shock exit at the hands of Bangladesh in the 2015 ICC event, the English ODI set-up garnered a lot of heat and rightly so, because of the team that they had and the reputation with which they walked into the World Cup.
However, since 2015, we have seen Eoin and the ECB making a few tough calls, particularly, axing some of the long-standing senior players and totally remodelling their limited overs set-up.
In fact, some of the moves were flabbergasting as they decided to go ahead and sack the likes of James Anderson and Stuart Broad who were considered the best in the country then.
Those were some brave calls and England have attained the number one ranking thanks to some brave and aggressive captaincy.
Eoin Morgan has totally changed the dynamics of England in the coloured jersey and has done well to earn an excellent rating of 9/10 and not to forget, the tagline of the favourites for the upcoming World Cup.