The Australian cricket captain in whatever form of the game is a very privileged position. Former Prime Minister John Howard, an admitted cricket tragic, said on many occasions, he would have loved to be the cricket team captain wearing the baggy green. Him and innumerable others.
One of my cricket art works in an imagery painting looking as if from behind Alan Border, as he led his team out onto the cricket ground on the first day's play of a cricket test match.
In my 17 year era as the Australian Cricket Team chaplain from 1984 the Australian Cricket Team captains were Kim Hughes, Alan Border, Mark Taylor and Steve Waugh. These were interesting cricketing years.
As my 17 year era as the Australian Cricket team chaplain drew to a close other things were happening within world cricket with the result today, there is a different captain for the Australian Cricket Team (Test matches) to the Australian Twenty/20 Cricket Team.
There might even come a time, when there is a different Australian Cricket Captain for all three forms of the game: Test Cricket, One Day Cricket, Twenty/20 Cricket.
While largely speaking to the value of athlete respite when head of the AIS Cricket Centre of Excellence, former Australian Cricket team captain Greg Chappell spoke of some of above these issues with the younger cricketers keen to play all forms of the game. His interview with the Australian Missionary News IPTV can be viewed at
I for one, do not find it difficult to distinguish the value of the role of captain in each form of the game as they exhibit distinct expertise.
A Test match runs for five days. The Test team captain has a strategic job on his hands, not only in technical decisions, but other associations such as on and off field team cohesion and seemingly those never ending outside media appointments.
The One-Day Team captain needs an additional skill, that of a good handle on mathematics as the nature of this form of the game, is when to strategically engage the "power plays" along with the ever present need to calculate the number of runs required as opposed to the number of overs remaining.
As a spectator I need a calculator or better still, I get those 'stats' from the radio or television. It appears to me as those media guys have a whole team of statisticians working it out ball by ball, over by over. Phew!
The Twenty/20 team captain has an equally challenging role. What bowlers to employ when. This can be a nightmare. The batsmen have one major aim – scoring runs like a bat out hell (excuse the phrase). How to curtail this frenzy of run-scoring is a strategic "critical mass' (again excuse the phrase).
In whatever form of the game, with the crowds loving the Twenty/20 explosive nature of the entertainment, with a seemingly upsurge of the one-day game taking last season as an indication, and the greatly loved 5 day Text fixtures, the team captain has a forensic task set before him. Sounds a bit like pastoring a church or co-ordinating a Christian Mission.
I take off my cap …............. to whomever !
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html