How to Captain a Village Cricket Team

Captaincy makes a much bigger difference at the lower levels of the game. A good captain can make a poor team good and a good team great.


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    Make sure you have 11 players on the field at the start of play! You can never take anything for granted. 14 players on a Thursday night quickly turns into 9 on Saturday morning. Have everyone's phone number and make sure you confirm participation with everyone in good time.
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    Give priority in selection to those who come to nets and turn up religiously to matches. If players are rewarded for doing the right thing, they'll do it more often. Always chose youth over age in close selection calls.
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    Know what you'll do if you win the toss. Think about the conditions, the points system and the relative strength of your team. If in doubt then go with your teams strength, if you've lots of good bowlers then bowl first. If you all bat then bat first. Once you're on top, you'll probably win.
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    Attack in the field. Bowlers bowl better with attacking fields. Always attack the new batsman. If a batsman hits two similar shots into the same place then put a fielder there. Always have a plan - or look like you have one. Never keep the same field for two different batsmen. Be active!
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    Have a team plan when batting - improving everyone's running between the wickets will win you every close game.
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    Move quickly. The fielder to the point gully should be quick. Practise catching and throwing more than any other team at the nets and before a game. Catches really do win matches. No-one means to drop a catch so encourage everyone to go for everything and praise everyone for every genuine attempt. Keen fielding teams win most of their games.
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    Make sure your whites are clean and pressed before a game. This will always give a good impression. There is nothing worse than looking like slobs on the field.


  • Work harder at nets than anyone else. Arrive first and leave last at games. Lead by example.
  • Always make a youngster feel important and give them something to do. If they can't bat or field well then put them at cover and tell them they're the most important fielder in the side.
  • Find a good dynamic wicket keeper and encourage him to stand up to medium pacers.
  • Put your best fielder at first slip, not your worst.
  • Encourage your players to voice their opinions behind closed doors in the dressing room not on the pitch when things are going badly.
  • Everyone likes a pat on the back, so give them one. Praise in public and tell off in private. If someone ignores a warning about their actions then drop them. You're better off without the prima donna.
  • Sweet talk the umpires. Call them sir. Find out what their hobbies are, make a note and ask them about it next time you see them. The umpire is your friend. It can't do any harm in those close LBW calls.
  • Cricket has a rich tradition of post match socialising. Team-mates, opponents and umpires get together after the day's play to relax, rehydrate, talk about the days play and reminisce about past exploits. Organise, or even better delegate to another player, the provision of beverages – both soft and alcoholic – for both teams and umpires. Encourage all players to participate in this part of the game. Many lifelong friendships are formed – both within your team, with spectators and even opponents and umpires. Involve yourself enthusiastically in this sharing of knowledge and debriefing – your cricket will be the richer for it.
  • Don't let anyone but yourself move a fielder to another position. A bowler can move a fielder a few yards but should go through you to move him completely. Having ten captains on the field is a recipe for chaos.
  • Field at mid on or mid off, you can see how the bowler is doing, talk to him before or after an over and control the game. Fielding at slip takes too much concentration.
  • Give everyone a job outside the game and make sure they do it. Nothing breeds resentment more than half the team doing all the setting up or tidying up when the others have already left for the pub.
  • A group jog around the field before play is the best warm up and builds team spirit while intimidating the ragtag, smoking opposition.
  • Give everyone a role in the side and make them feel important, then let them get on with it. Encourage everyone to express themselves - spinners to toss it up, pacemen to bowl fast, stroke makers to hit it and stone walls to rotate the strike without getting out.
  • Make every effort to get a result on wet days. Work like a trojan to dry the ground - get a Super Sopper as a first priority. Teams with no abandoned games will always finish above teams with three.
  • Always be polite to your team.


  • Never yell or get angry at team members. Positive criticisms only!
  • Don't expect anyone to appreciate your efforts. You'll thank a hundred people before getting any thanks yourself. You know if you're doing a good job, but don't expect thanks from anyone else. You'll get blamed for everything which goes wrong though, just accept it.
  • Always be calm and optimistic. If you don't think you're going to win then you've already lost.
  • Do the right thing. Don't appeal if you know it's not out. Don't claim bump balls as catches. Recall a batsman who's been wrongly dismissed. Always occupy the moral high ground. Everyone takes their cue from your behaviour. The game is bigger and more important than 'this' match.
  • If a bowler is on the point of boiling over then take him off and let him cool down at long leg. In any dispute over a decision you must always take the umpire's side. Your job is to keep your team in check and playing in the spirit of the game. You'll be respected more for being cool and calm when everyone else is losing their head.
  • Don't talk to bowlers during their over. If they're hooked for four they know to pitch the ball up, they don't need to be told. Don't distract them, trust them then have a word between overs.
  • Don't sledge or allow sledging. No-one wants to play for unpleasant cricket teams.

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Categories: Cricket | Sports Leadership