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5 Players who were in the team just because they were captains

16 Nov 2019 CricTracker

Gulbadin Naib. (Photo Source: Twitter) The cricket universe has always believed that the captain is the most integral part of a cricket team. Not only does the skipper looks after the team but he also leads his players by example. Over the years, we have seen a plethora of great captains like Ricky Ponting, Graeme Smith, MS Dhoni, Mashrafe Mortaza, Brendon McCullum and now, Virat Kohli has also joined the elite list. All the aforementioned players knew how to get the best out of the resources they had besides showcasing their individual talent as per the team’s requirements. As the popularity of cricket is increasing day by day, the competition for a place in the national team has got more intense. Whenever a player loses his touch, he soon finds himself out of the team. But, there have been a few occasions when the out of form players stayed in the team for a long while, just because they were the captains. Here’s a look at the 5 of those players – 1. Sarfaraz Ahmed (Pakistan) Sarfaraz Ahmed. (Photo Source: Twitter) The former captain of Pakistan, Sarfaraz Ahmed had made a name for himself by guiding the nation to the ICC Champions Trophy win in 2017. The wicketkeeper-batsman became the skipper in 2016 when PCB sacked Shahid Afridi as the T20I skipper. Soon, he took over the reins of the team in the other two formats and, Pakistan prospered under his leadership. Though the team was performing well, Sarfaraz’s individual numbers were not up to the mark. He could only score 2 hundreds in the 116 ODI matches he played while in the Test format, he had an average of just 36.39. Also, he had a below-par strike rate of 126.67 in the T20I format. Hence, when the other players’ form dipped, Sarfaraz’s poor record got exposed and PCB soon removed him from the team. 2. Gulbadin Naib (Afghanistan) Gulbadin Naib. (Photo Source: Twitter) The Afghanistan Cricket Board had grabbed the world’s attention when they announced that all-rounder Gulbadin Naib would lead the Afghan team in the 2019 World Cup. The fans and players were furious as the inexperienced 28-year-old took over the reins of the side from Asghar Afghan but when Afghanistan upset Pakistan in the warm-up match of the World Cup, it seemed like Afghanistan’s top officials had played a masterstroke by naming Naib as the captain. As the tournament progressed, Naib promoted himself to the opening position, and he even used himself as the team’s main fast bowler. Ultimately, Afghanistan crashed out of the tournament with zero points as Naib was sacked from the skippers’ position. It is interesting to note that Naib was not a regular fixture in the Afghan team before the World Cup hence; it shows that the Logar-born all-rounder was in the team just because he was the captain. 3. Tim Paine (Australia) Tim Paine. (Photo by Jono Searle/Getty Images) The infamous Sandpaper Gate scandal forced Cricket Australia to change their team’s captain. Since the regular skipper Steve Smith and his deputy, David Warner received a one-year ban, Australia had no other option but to name the discarded wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Paine as their new leader. Paine had never cemented his spot in the Australian team although he made his international debut in 2009. However, once he gained the power to lead the team, he became a regular member of the Aussie team. Under Paine’s captaincy, Australia could not fare well in either of the formats hence, the officials dropped him from the team and elected Aaron Finch as the new captain. The 34-year-old still leads the Test side, but he is yet to score a Test hundred. He has done a good job behind the stumps however, the same cannot be said of his batting performances. Thus, he too belongs to the category of captains who are a part of the team despite their poor form. 4. Alastair Cook (England) Alastair Cook. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images) While the fans will always remember Alastair Cook as one of the greatest Test batsmen from England, very few may hail him as a captain who led the team by example. Cook had led England to several memorable series victories during his regime but the Gloucester-born batsman had a torrid run from July 2013 to April 2015 as he could not score a single Test hundred during that time period. His poor performances in the other two formats led to his ouster from the team as England wanted aggressive players in the limited-overs format. Eoin Morgan became the captain of the team after that. Cook kept his spot in the Test team for a long while but, he could not bat with consistency. He resigned from the captaincy position in 2017 but given how well he had played for England, the team management allowed him to retire as per his terms. 5. Darren Sammy (West Indies) Darren Sammy. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images) Darren Sammy made his international debut for West Indies in the year 2004. The all-rounder was known for his hard-hitting skills, which boosted the run rate in the slog overs while he could also bowl right-arm medium pace. The St. Lucia-based player took over the reins of the Caribbean team from Chris Gayle in 2011. Sammy was very successful as a captain and under his leadership, West Indies won the T20 World Cup twice. He evolved as a player during his captaincy tenure however, his inconsistent performances had cost West Indies several matches. Ultimately, the West Indies Cricket Board lost its patience and dropped him from all three formats. A lot of cricket experts billed Sammy as a ‘bits and pieces’ player who could not add worth to either of the two departments. But since he had led the Windies to two world titles, the fans will always remember him as a great captain.

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