The role that a Captain of a Cricket Team has is similar to that of a Manager in the game of Football. He is responsible for keeping and leading the Team together. He is also the one who make strategies and work out techniques to be employed in the field.
Yes, being the Skipper of a Team is much more than just placing the correct players at a spot and just deciding the Team combination. It is about getting the make the most of a player and man-management. A Captain who is good also challenges the members in the Team and creating an environment of healthy friendship within the unit.
The Indian Team, over the years, has been lucky to have so many great Captains leaving their impressions on the side, leading to positive results. However, there have been some players who have been great but have never led the side as Captains. Let’s take a look at five such key players:
Here are the players who never became Captain of the Indian Side –
1 – Zaheer Khan
Zaheer Khan has been one of the best bowlers that the Indian Cricket has seen. His inclusion in the Team was like a breath of fresh air, and he displayed that since debut. From crushing Yorkers to late swings, Zaheer has everything in his arsenal. As he matured, he emerged as a Senior Pro in the Team. He was always seen talking to fellow young bowlers and encouraging them to bowl the best. MS Dhoni had given him a title – unofficial bowlers’ Captain. But he was not considered to become the Team Leader. Not because he was not talented, it was because there was always a Sourav Ganguly, Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid and MS Dhoni to get that position in the Team. Zaheer had been the Skipper of Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Ranji Team and had shown progress in drafting plans.
2 – VVS Laxman
VVS Laxman has been a key player in the Team of India from the 2000s to 2011. In the Test Cricket arena, he was known to be the Crisis man of the Indian Cricket. In the presence of players like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and Virender Sehwag, he had made a niche for himself. He was India’s go-to man to bail out the Team, and he did that on many occasions. Laxman is the 4th highest scorer for India in Test games and scored 8781 runs. Even though he played for a period of around 15 years, he was not considered to become the Skipper. But he went on to Captain the Deccan Chargers in the IPL and now mentors the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH).
3 – Erapalli Prasanna
Erapalli Prasanna showed what and how an off-spinner should be like as he had every weapon in his arsenal. Seeing him trapping the batsman was a delight that only an Indian fan could relate to. He was very able, and his figures of 189 wickets in 49 matches proved it. But he was not a regular member of the Team owing to politics. It hampered his rise as the leader more because he could read the mindset of the batsman. Despite being proactive, he was reduced to being second fiddle to Srinivas Venkataraghavan as a bowler and even as a Skipper. Hence, he was another able player who was not made the Captain of the Indian Cricket Team ever.
4 – Harbhajan Singh
Harbhajan Singh was never seen to be someone who could lead the side. If Parana was the master, the Turbanator was nothing less, who developer as an able batsman across the format. He shot into fame after taking that super famous Hat Trick during the 2001 Test Series against Australia and never looked back again. Like every bowler, he had his share of ups and lows. He had 417 wickets in Test and 269 ODI wickets and is one of the modern-day legends of Cricket. But despite performing amazingly with the ball, he was not promoted as the Captain of the Team. He did well being the Captain of the Mumbai Indians for a brief period and even the Punjab Ranji Trophy. But the Selectors did not approve of his capability as a Skipper when it came to the National side.
5 – Bhagwat Chandrashekhar
Bhagwat Chandrashekhar was another player of the Indian Cricket Team who was not considered to be upgraded as the Captain of the squad. The figure of Bhagwat Chandrashekhar (242 wickets in 58 games at an average of 29.74) was there to prove the mettle of the bowler, but not enough to be given the job of leading the side. Bhagwat Chandrashekhar has had a long association being a spinner, but he was also no run of the mill spinner. His ability to bowl quick googlies equipped with a decent share of amazing leg breaks made him one of the lethal phenomenon of the famous spin quartet of the classic Indian Cricket Team. He was also among the Chief Architect of the first win that the Indian Team saw Vs England at the Oval. It was the match where he went ahead and picked a famous 6 wickets for 38 runs. But even though he was supremely talented, he was not yet looked upon to be given the charge of the National side. He was considered as a bowler and constrained only in a role that never saw him getting him out of it and donning the role of a Skipper.