What no-one tells you about being a village cricket team captain | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

What no-one tells you about being a village cricket team captain

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MS Dhoni never has to worry about who is making tea.

Mike Brearley never wondered how he was going to get 11 players a few hours before play.

Ricky Ponting has never stood scratching his head in the field because all his bowlers are rubbish and half the fielders can't catch a cold.

Even the best resources on captaincy don't warn you about the perils of being in charge of a village, park or scratch team.

It's a different game with the same Laws.

But there are thousands more village captains than there will ever be at the first-class level and you deserve to know how to deal with some of the common problems that never made it into the final draft of The Art of Captaincy.

So here they are.
Handling the hour of pain

A captain I played under once called 12-1pm every summer Saturday afternoon the hour of pain.

With a 2pm start he arrives at the ground around 12 to find 3 players had dropped out and 1 was never available in the first place. What follows is about an hour of finding numbers, ringing round, begging, pleading and cajoling players into getting 11 on the field.

Ideally with at least 2 who can bowl.

This is where expert negotiating skills are a must.

Like a good salesman you can't take 'no' for an answer. Your skin has to become thick.

It also helps to have a lot of numbers on hand (including the youngsters if your side has a youth team) and a lot of favours to pull in.

What also helps is that players know they will have a good afternoon playing for you, which is where the next point comes in.

Giving the lad a go

Even at knockabout level, we all want to play well and win the match.

But what's more important is that everyone gets a game, because if they do they will be back next week (making the hour of pain a little less painful).

What that means is you need to be constantly aware of what your players want to do. You might know Jim is a rabbit with the bat but he has his heart set on going in at number 4. Who are you to stop him?

So put your bowlers and wicketkeeper down the order and let everyone else have a bat.

There will be one player who doesn't want to bat or bowl. He just likes the company and the afternoon in the sunshine. Use him to make room for others but never take him for granted. A quick chat at the tea break to ask him if he wants a go this week makes a huge difference.

This balancing act will cost you some games, it may win you some unexpectedly too though. As long as everyone had a chance then you have done your job.

In part two we go on to look at some tactics that are unique to cricket at the lower levels. Click here to go there now.

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Ha ha no-one's commented in here before, but thank Christ you have David because it looks like I'm going to be lumped with the role in order to save the 4th XI and give all our youngsters a chance to play cricket this summer. Seems if I don't say yes we're all doomed to a fairly cricket-less summer! I know years ago when I first started and was on your Harrowdrive forum you commended my blog saying that it was hilarious (without being nasty) comparing it with Rainman and Fatty Batter, I think if I agree to this, the blog may take another head back in that direction, because I am clueless about this role!!!

I know as well, I'm going to have a team where no-one can score or umpire and it's going to be a bit of a challenge, I've got a little less than 2 months to get this together and not really sure if I should have said yes...