Captaining Your Side

Captains have an important job to do

Here are some tips that will help you in your role as Captain or Vice Captain

Captains have a tough job - they also have to perform as players and that can bring added pressure. There have been lots of great international players who started to play very badly once given the responsibility of captaining the side.

Being Captain and Vice Captain is a real honour - you have to lead when things get tough and make difficult decisions about who bowls when and who fields where - but you don't have to do it on your own. Here are some tips on how to cope with the Captain's job.

  • Try and get to the ground in plenty of time so that you can meet the opposing team, the umpires and coaches.
  • You need to agree the batting order for your team and sort out your opening bowlers but be flexible with the rest. Remember batsmen retire at a score of 30.
  • In 11-a side cricket the better batsmen usually bat first, be reasonable with less able batsmen and make sure everyone gets a chance to bat once in a while.
  • You can vary opening partnerships but remember that the more batsmen work in partnership, the better they become at running between the wickets.
  • Try and avoid having your opening bowlers batting last.
  • In 11-a-side cricket every you must use no less than six bowlers (excluding the wicket keeper) no bowler can bowl more than four overs. You must decide who gets the extra overs – look at how well your players are bowling to help you decide.
  • Keep a note of how many overs bowlers have had, you need to keep your options open.
  • Remember you can give a bowler different spells – they do not have to bowl all their overs together; perhaps two at the start and two at the end of the innings.
  • You have to call at the start of the match to decide who bats first. If you win the toss it is usually best to bat first. It is generally better to set a target and defend it than to chase one; you also bat in better light if it is an evening match. However, if the weather is dark and gloomy at the start of play and set to brighten up later - consider asking the opposition to bat first.
  • Make a habit of catching up with local weather forecasts on match days - it could be important.
  • You are also responsible for setting the field. Remember that for safety reasons – no fielder should be forward of the batsman on strike within 11 metres; apart from the wicket keeper and any close catchers at slip.
  • Try to spread fielders and not to leave too many gaps – a boundary fielder behind the wicket keeper is always useful to prevent too many byes. Move the field round to save runs, a five off; four on side field is a good basis from which to start.
  • Watch where batsman are scoring and where they like to play - move the field accordingly.
  • Use good fielders in key run saving positions like Point, Cover, Midwicket, Mid Off (On) and Short Backward Square.
  • Have a bowling plan but always be prepared to be flexible and change it if your need to. Do not make pre-match promises about bowling you can't afford to keep later.
  • If someone has a bad over - it's OK to take them off - sometimes tough decisions are required.
  • If the match situation calls for it, you can alter the batting order too.
  • Don’t forget to change the field for left and right handed batsmen if you need to.
  • Don't place the same fielder on the boundary at opposites sides of the ground in alternate overs. A fielder at Third Man could easily take a position at Mid On for the following over or Long Off could become Fine Leg.
  • Learn and use the proper names for fielding – don’t say ‘go over there’.
  • Consult regularly with your vice captain and your team mates if you want some help on what to do.
  • As captain, field somewhere near to the bowler – mid on or mid off is often a good place to be.
  • Always encourage your team mates and remind them to walk in.
  • Keep a good atmosphere and level of chatter in the field - don't let heads drop.
  • Don't be like a 'wasp in jar' particularly if bowlers are having a bad over. They know how to correct it, give enouragement and let them work it out for themselves.
  • Always clap opposition batsmen on and off the pitch.
  • Lead by example and always encourage fair play.
  • Don't indulge in sledging with the opposition team.