The Unexpected Best Place for Captains to Field | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

The Unexpected Best Place for Captains to Field

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The captain of any team needs to be seen and heard at all times. Everybody will turn to you for direction and you set the tone of your side.

Most people prefer to captain from slip or mid-off. But for me, there is a better option.

With the traditional approach, both are in direct line of the batsman to assess their technique and view. 

From slip you can use hand signals to the rest of the field from behind the batsman’s back; as well as easy communication with the wicket-keeper, who has perhaps the best view on the field.

From mid-off you can communicate with the bowler.

However, could cover be the best place for the captain to field?

I’m convinced it is.

Firstly, cover is the most central fielding position on the off-side.

It also allows the captain to lead by example: attacking the ball for a prevented quick single, a full length dive, the potential run out chance; all things that can instantly lift the side.

It’s stationed halfway between the bowler and wicket-keeper, so it is possible to communicate easier with either during the over. As well as leaving those two positions to assess their view of the game individually, allowing you at cover to asses from a third position.

Cover also views the perfect view of the batsman in their stance, allowing you to make those initial judgements on their technique in order to exploit them early on.

Throw the vice-captain or a senior player at mid-off and slip to have someone you trust in the traditional view by all means, but captaining from cover gives a new assessment of the game.

Where do you like to field when you are in charge? 

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I've been a wicket keeper most of my cricketing life and have been asked to captain the team this year. I'm bringing myself out of the keeping position and putting myself in cover. My predessesor is moving into keeper and I will be floating my vice from slip to mid off. Interesting that you have backed my way of thinking. Alot of people have said to stay keeping, but I feel that the keeper has enough to do without the added pressures of captaining.
Great site. Keep the advice coming.

I found captaincy helped my keeping because I had to switch into captain mode between balls then back into keeper mode as the bowler ran it. It was mentally draining but it kept me focused.

Would you advise this approach for youngsters? My son's 13 and it seems likely that he'll be the captain of his team next year. He's being given the role primarily because of his physical presence and level -headedness and the fact that he's mature for his age, but he's short on technical knowledge, he wouldn't be able to analyse the batsman in any detail whatsoever, so do you think your theory still stands?


This is a little off topic... but just for you...

What you really have to remember is that it is not all about the Captain but how the team relate/respond to him. The problem is… it is down to the Captain to get that message across and whether he succeeds or not is down to his success or failure in doing so.

The team must realise that there is only one Captain and the decisions are his. If any of them believe it is a democracy, they should be assured, it is not. The Captain needs to make unilateral decisions and these decisions should be followed with the same diligence as those of the Umpire. If they have any suggestions, they should make them at the appropriate time; this is not whilst on the field, in the middle of play.

Richie Benaud once said, “Captaincy is 90 percent luck and 10 percent talent... But don’t try it without that 10 percent”. I actually think the talent needs to be higher; you must have the talent to understand your team as well as the game. If you do not understand your team, how can you make the right decisions?

If the team wish to help out and make a difference, they should remember that Captains are stressed out people in the field. ‘There, they are plotting several overs ahead, whilst trying to winkle out the current partnership, set the field and change the bowling’. In the midst of all that chaos, there is something every fielder can do to make the skipper’s job much easier, and improve the team’s chances of winning:


It’s down to concentration but it can win or lose the match. If the fielders are watching the Captain in the field, he will be able to move them subtly and the batsmen will never know! This makes the team appear more disciplined as the Captain is not shouting or putting on a high aerobic demonstration by waving his arms and jumping up and down to get their attention. This will also give him a lot more control and make the fielders a lot more alert and up with the game situation.

I have, in the past, put a youngster in this position who was not quite up there technically but gave him a couple of vice captains who, although really on the ball technically, were not quite Captain material. It worked really well!

since ive been captain i've always stayed in the covers, the difference being that at te end of the over i wont swap over so essentially i alternate between covers/midwicket i think this gives me a chance to assess things inbetween overs when theres a natural break in play just little things like- whats my bowlers body language like, who's looking bored in the field and needs switching round, can i have a chirp at this batsman etc etc, it also means my players can easily run over to me for a quiet word if they have any ideas

If it works for you then great, but I kind of like the walk to clear the mind. Mind you as a keeper I don't have much choice!

yeah i agree on the walk bit, i liked the bit inbetween overs as a player as it was a break from concentration but as a captain i dont allow myself that break theres always something to think about or watch (especially in a team with a few juniors playing!)