Cricket Captaincy by Mike Brearley | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips
Cricket Captaincy by Mike Brearley [1006.301.070.001]

In 1981 Mike Brearley captained the England team to victory in a historic Ashes series. If this alone did not secure his fate as an expert on captaincy and leadership, his 4 County Championship wins with Middlesex and win record for England certainly did.

Have you ever wondered how he did it?

This course is Mike Brearley's groundbreaking interactive guide to how to be an effective captain.

The course is his first major work since 'The Art of Captaincy' and expands on the themes within the writing to provide a step-by-step guide for any cricket captain.

From working towards your own 'degree in people' (as Rodney Hogg once said Brearley had) to the nuts and bolts of field settings and batting orders, this course has the answers in a simple and clear format.

Club and school level captains will enjoy the practical tips, learn how to command respect and trust their instincts as a skipper. They will discover how to make the most of players individual skills while helping them play as a team.

Captaincy is a difficult job. Learn how one of the great cricketing minds approached it with success.

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Chapter 1 - Introduction to captaincy
What should a captain's philosophy be?

What makes a good cricket captain?

In this video presentation I examine what qualities you find in an effective captain.

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Chapter 2 - Planning and preparing
A captain's job starts long before the match. Find out the important details here.

Annual duties of a captain

A good captain attends to many wider duties away from from the pitch throughout the year. I had 11 years as captain at Middlesex so here I discuss how to deal with such duties over the course of a season (or longer) in charge.

How to select a team

A good cricket team is made up of different personalities and skills. Helping make the right blend of these elements starts with the captain and the team he or she selects.

How to deal with selection issues

Should you pick a 'horses for courses' team or go for a more settled side? I discuss this and other selection problems here.

Understanding different roles

I feel that a key job for a captain is to assign roles to players that match the situation and their personalities. This is something I examine in depth in this part of the course.

Captain's selection notes sheet

Download and print this sheet to help you note down your players and their roles more clearly. Use it to clarify any weaknesses in your side during selection.

How to develop players as individuals

At every level an important responsibility as captain is to work on his or her players weaknesses while maintaining or improving their strengths. Find out the 3 main ways to do this effectively.

The 5 steps to developing your players in practice

Even if you have a coach, an important part of your job as captain develop your team. Use this guide to help you plan and act.

Captain's planner

Use the planner to help you build a progressive training plan around your team technical and physical needs.

How to manage the coach-captain relationship

When I was captain I never had to deal with a coach, but in modern times it is an important relationship. I discuss the positives and negatives in this video.

6 Keys to gaining respect as a captain

No captain automatically has respect, as I discovered in my early years as Middlesex captain. I show you the 6 main ways to build up respect in this video.

How to develop respect when you first become captain

As a young captain I struggled to gain the respect of the dressing room at Lord's. I chat abotu the situation in this video and give my advice on how to get through difficult times.

The captain's guide to influence

Lack of respect for a captain can spread through the team, resulting in an unmotivated and uncoordinated team. In this article I give you 5 ways you can be influential without being manipulative.

Man management for captains at all levels

In this audio interview I talk about my views on the important aspects of managing the different personalities and dynamics that make up a team.

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Chapter 3 - Matchday
At any level, when the day of the match arrives you have certain duties and responsibilities.

Captains duties

Even county and International captains have duties away from the field of play. I talk through what these might be for all captains.

How to read conditions

Reading the both pitch and weather is important because it can help you decide whether to bat or bowl when you win the toss. Watch this video to find my views on tactics for different pitches and conditions.


In this audio discussion you will learn some of the practical tactical aspects of running a side including handling spinners, bowling spells, managing difficult situations and limited over tactics.

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Chapter 4 - Batting considerations
A captain's job doesn't end when you select the batting order.

How to choose the batting order

If you want to build a well paced innings you need to think carefully about your batting order. Here are the main considerations.

The captain's role in pacing a team innings

Although you can't be in the middle all the time, I think the captain must look to steer the innings. This is done by making sure your batsmen know what you want from them, something I look at in detail here.

The carrot or the whip: How to declare

When you choose to your declare can make or break a game. In this article I guide you past classic declaration mistakes (I made a few over the years) and learn how to declare to win more matches.

How to declare (video)

This video discusses the methods behind the timing of a declaration in time based games.

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Chapter 5 - In the field
A captain's job in the field is to stay ahead of the game.

How to use field settings to control the game

Good captaincy is about being in control of the match. Use the three methods outlined here to discover how to do so by setting effective fields to all your bowlers.

How to analyse a batsman for technical weaknesses

A simple way to get a player out is to identify his or her technical weaknesses and bowl accordingly. Use this guide to spot some of the common technical errors a batter can make and work out how you can exploit this knowledge.

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Chapter 6 - Field settings
Use these interactive fields as templates to work from to build your own fields in the middle. More fields are being added regularly.

Fast bowler field

This is a field for a fast bowler with a new ball. It is ideal for situations when you can attack all out.

Fast bowler defensive field

This is a more defensive field for a fast bowler. It would not be used in limited over matches, but in declaration games where wickets have value you still need some attackers.

Medium pace 6/3 field

This is a flexible field that works well in a number of different conditions to a number of different types of medium pace bowlers (swing, seam, slow or fast). You can use it to both take wickets and restrict scoring in longer format games.

Medium pace 5/4 field

This is a flexible field that works well in a number of different conditions to a number of different types of medium pace bowlers (swing, seam, slow or fast). You can use it to both take wickets and restrict scoring in longer format games.

Off spin field

This field is for the off spinner who can turn the ball in situations where wickets are needed.

Off spin 6/3 leg side split

This field is for the accurate off spinner bowling over the wicket with a straighter line.

Slow left arm field

This field is ideal for a left arm bowler around the wicket on a pitch where the ball is turning.

Leg spin field

A traditional 5/4 split field for the right arm leg spin/googly bowler.

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