Someone once said the only things you regret are the things you didn't do.
That's certainly true when it comes to captaincy, as Mike Brearley told PitchVision Academy when he noticed a mistake the Bangladesh captain would go on to regret.
"In the England against Bangladesh Test at Old Trafford, with England struggling a bit at 83-3, Ian Bell came in to face Bangladesh captain and slow left arm spinner, Shakib al Hasan. He pushed forward to his first ball, which took the inside edge, went onto the knee, and ballooned up to where short square leg should have been. Shakib then put in a short square leg, but it was too late. Bell scored 128, England reached 419, and Bangladesh lost by an innings and 80 runs."
Have you seen slow captaincy let the game slip away in your matches?
I'm willing to bet you have, considering even the most shrewd captains call recall such mistakes with "a shudder of regret".
It was January 1967. Pakistan were batting first against England and were also wobbling at 62-2. As Mike revealed; "I failed to put a short leg in to Mushtaq Mohammed, who scored 120, when he should have been out to Pat Pocock for 0. Such mistakes can be costly."
What stands out is how clearly that mistake is remembered.
If the case had been the other way around and a short leg had been in and a couple of boundaries had been hit through the gap, it would barely have registered a comment.
Attack in haste, defend at leisure
So the moral of those stories is a simple one: If you have an idea to attack, do it right away.
If it pays off you will look like a confident tactical genius.
Imagine what that will do to the emotional state of the team. They will brim with confidence. They will feel like a team, working together under insightful leadership.
And if you are hit for a boundary instead?
You can always put the man back again. No harm done.
Just ground your ideas in common sense.
On the other hand, if you have a defensive idea, be less hasty and think it through a bit more. You don't want to take that short leg out and see the ball loop slowly into the space you left do you?
Take your time. You can almost always afford another boundary (at worst).
As Mike says: "Captaincy and management makes a huge difference both tactically and emotionally; in how the team feel about themselves, how much a collection of individuals is helped to become a team."
And the better you work as a team, the more likely you are to be more than the sum of your parts.
If you want to know more about how to improve your tactical awareness and your man-management skills as captain, get the online coaching course Cricket Captaincy by Mike Brearley on PitchVision Academy.