Not Leading from the Front – Struggling Captains at the T20 World Cup

Struggling Captains at the World Cup

A skipper is expected to lead his team from the front, but it has been quite the opposite in this World Cup. The skippers have been struggling to get going big times. From Babar to Finch and from Rohit to Bavuma, everyone has found themselves reeling in this tournament.

This blog includes a comprehensive analysis of the performance of 9 captains in the T20 World Cup. Also, we have analyzed the reason behind their failures.

So, let’s get straight into it.


1) Babar Azam


Not long ago, Babar Azam was leading the ICC T20I rankings. Pakistani skipper has developed a huge fan base across the globe. His aggregate of 303 runs in the last year’s World Cup made him the highest run scorer of the tournament. Hence, the fans had a lot of expectations from him heading into the mega event.

But, he has failed miserably to live up to the expectations. His World Cup started with a golden duck against the arch-rivals India. In the following game against Zimbabwe, he was dismissed for just 4 runs, and his score was exactly the same as in the match against the Netherlands.

Pakistan’s weak batting lineup is heavily dependent on their captain, and his failures have resulted in their semi-final hopes hanging by a thread. In the 3 matches, he has scored 8 runs at an average of 2.67 and a strike rate of 53.33. Despite how he goes in the next couple of matches, he won’t like to remember this World Cup for his batting.


2) Rohit Sharma


Rohit’s average of 24 and strike rate of 120 might not precisely reflect that he has been in a spot of bother in this World Cup. Out of his 72 runs in 3 matches, 57 came against the Netherlands. Whereas, in the 2 games against Pakistan and South Africa, he has managed 4(7) and 15(14).

Another essential point is that he has found it hard to get the pull shot away and has lost his wicket twice while attempting the hook. It just shows that he hasn’t got things right for himself in this event and is nowhere close to his best. Rohit’s misery is a surprise because of the fact that he loves to bat against extra pace and bounce, and these conditions are tailor-made for him.


3) Temba Bavuma


Bavuma’s inability to find a place in South Africa’s new T20 league and his ordinary stats raised a question about his spot in South Africa’s team. In T20 Internationals, his average and strike rate are just 22.27 and 113.98. Leading a strong side like South Africa with these numbers is definitely not as per the merits.

His three outings in the World Cup have further added to his troubles. In SA’s World Cup opener against Zimbabwe, he remained unbeaten on 2. In the next 2 games against Bangladesh and India, he scored 2(6) and 10(15). These performances took his aggregate to 14 runs in 3 games while striking at 60.87.

It must be said that if the South African skipper doesn’t end his poor run in the next few games, he may lose his captaincy and place in South Africa’s T20I squad.


4) Aaron Finch


After 3 matches in the T20 World Cup, Finch is averaging over 53 and has scored 107 runs. These numbers don’t really suggest that he is struggling, but he is. The simplest way to verify it is by looking at his strike rate, which is just 110.31.

Against two stronger sides – New Zealand and Sri Lanka – he made 13 off 11 and 31* off 42. Then, he blasted 63(44) against Ireland to improve his numbers. But Finch is far from his fluent best, especially against quality bowling.


5) Kane Williamson

In his 3 knocks in the tournament, Kane has not played even a single innings with a strike rate of over 100. His scores read 23(23), 8(13), and 40(40). A strike rate of 93.42 accurately represents his inability to pace the innings.

For someone, who is a part of Fab 4, these stats look awful, and he will be more than willing to get over them.


6) Jos Butler


England’s destructive opener is one of the cleanest strikers of the cricket ball going around. But his World Cup started with a run-a-ball 18 against Afghanistan. It was followed by a two-ball duck against Ireland. In the third game against New Zealand, he smashed 73 off 47 but after getting an early reprieve.

Overall, his average of 30.33 and strike rate of 135.82 is enough to say that he has been performing much better than all the other skippers in the competition. However, we are yet to witness the best of Butler in this World Cup.


7) Shakib Al Hasan


Shakib has been single-handedly carrying Bangladesh’s batting lineup recently. But he hasn’t found any sort of momentum in this World Cup. His 3 innings have brought just 31 runs at a strike rate of 93.94.

These numbers are as ordinary as they can get for a player of repute like Shakib.


8) Dasun Shanaka


The Sri Lankan captain played some crucial knocks in the Asia Cup this year to help his team win the title. However, he has gone past 30 only once in his 6 innings in the World T20.

An ordinary average of 15 with a strike rate of 113.64 portray his batting failures in the competition.


9) Craig Ervine

Apart from a fine 58-run knock against Scotland, Ervine’s highest score in the World Cup is 19. He is averaging 19.20 and striking at 97.96 in 5 innings. So, his case is no different from all the skippers in this World Cup.


The Reasons Behind the Failures


An important point to notice here is that 6 out of these 9 captains are openers. Williamson and Shakib bat at #3 and #4, respectively, while Shanaka comes in at #6. So, most of these guys feature at the top of the batting order.

We have seen the new ball moving around in almost every game in this year’s World T20 in Australia. Plenty of wickets have fallen in the powerplay, and fluent knocks from a top-order batter have been rare.

So, the Aussie conditions have posed a challenge for the top-order batsmen. The best way to overcome this challenge is to use the accumulate early, accelerate later formula. The two blistering knocks, one each by Finch and Butler, proved that this method must work in these conditions.

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