England have had some truly exceptional characters in the Captain role and their sharp, astute cricketing minds have made the difference between defeat and victory many times. Their tough mental attitude and superb leadership skills make other players want to follow them and fans want to hug them. Fans always take in account to predict the match results based on the captaincy on the best cricket betting sites and most successful captains have the best chances and odds.
Let’s look back at the ten best Captains England have ever produced:
6. Alastair Cook
Widely regarded as one of the finest batsmen and English captains of the modern age, Alastair Cook is quite a player. He operates as a left-handed opening batsman and is a run-scoring machine with many big innings to his name. Many experts believe him to be one of the most prolific and elegant batters of his generation.
It is as a captain that we are interested in him, though, and in those terms he deserves a mention here. While some have questioned his leadership, he holds the record at 59 games for an English player to skipper the Test team. His calm approach and ability to galvanize the English team behind him make him one of the best to do so.
His obvious cricketing talent caught Essex’s attention and they handed him his First-Class debut in 2003 after he had finished his studies. He did well in this match against Nottinghamshire, particularly in the second innings where he scored 69 not out. Still currently playing, he has notched up 25 matches and 20,145 runs to show his talent.
His fine form at county level drew the international selectors’ attention and he made his Test debut in 2006 against India. He scored 60 runs in his first innings and then a fantastic 104 in the second to show that he had the character to settle into international cricket seamlessly. In fact, he was only the sixteenth Englishman to score a Test century on his debut. Continuing to be a regular in the team, Cook took over the captaincy from Andrew Strauss after he retired in 2012.
5. Douglas Jardine
Douglas Jardine, who has now sadly passed on, will always be remembered as one of England’ finest skippers and also a superb batsman in his own right. Standing six-foot-tall and with a strong build, he had particularly good on-side strokes that he would score regularly with. Combined with a great defense, he was a batter bowlers hated facing.
As England captain, he is probably best known for the Bodyline controversy in the 1933/34 Ashes series against Australia. Looking for ways to win, Jardine came up with a new line of attack (literally!) He packed the leg-side field and instructed his bowlers to send the ball down the leg-side – short and quick. The theory was that the batsman would be forced to play the ball into the waiting fielder's hands or risk being struck on the body or head. While the tactic worked, it provoked huge outrage and eventually had to be dropped.
4. Michael Vaughan
A dry, obstinate Mancunian in the classic mold, Michael Vaughan would turn out to be one of England’s greatest captains, certainly in the modern era. Perhaps his greatest trait as skipper, though, was his calmness and refusal to panic, even if things weren’t going well. This stopped his players getting too emotional and led him to rescue situations that may have seemed lost.
Playing for Yorkshire all his career at domestic level, he was a brilliant batsman as his 16,295 runs in 268 games shows. Moving into the England set-up, he became captain in 2003 after Nassar Hussain chose to step down from the role. His superb man-management skills and reading of the game in the field soon became apparent. His subsequent record, such as beating the West Indies away for the first time since 1968 and South Africa away for the first time since 1965, shows just how good he was. This was in addition to winning all 7 home matches over the summer of 2004 also!
3. Ray Illingworth
One of the most successful and shrewdest players on our list is the Yorkshire-man Ray Illingworth. A gruff, tough and canny competitor, his desire to win pushed the England teams he captained to many victories. As a player, he was also up there with the best as a brilliant all-rounder. His pin-point accurate off-break bowling wore batsman down until they effectively gave him their wicket and his defensive style of batting allowed him to stay at the crease for long periods.
At First-Class level, he was mainstay of the Yorkshire team during the late 1950s and 1960s and would also play for Leicestershire in what was a stellar domestic career. He is only one of nine players to have scored 20,000 runs and taken 2,000 wickets at that level which shows his talent. This fine form soon brought him to the attention of the England selectors and he made his debut in 1958 against New Zealand.
2. Len Hutton
One of Len Hutton’s claims to fame is that he was England’s first ever professional captain. Taking over the role in 1952, it was quite controversial at the time as previously it was thought professional players were not suitable to be captain. Hutton soon proved them wrong though!
A truly fantastic batsman, he sits at the top table of English cricket as a player due to the run he scored and the style he had when playing. This led him into the international scene where he soon settled and showed his class. His 364 at the Oval surely stands out as one of his most well-known and greatest achievements.
After taking over the role of captain Hutton soon showed his skill again, but this time also his sharp cricketing mind and no-nonsense approach. Although sometimes cautious in his field placements and use of bowlers, this was always done for tactical reasons. A series win against India did his reputation no harm, but it was the 1953 Ashes win against Australia that stands out when you look at his record as skipper.
1. Mike Brearley
It should be no surprise that Mike Brearly is at the top of our list – after all, he has written a book called ‘The Art of Captaincy’! What is unusual about him, though, is that, as an individual player, his record in Test cricket was quite poor. He never scored a century and only averaged 23 with the bat in his international career. However, the fact that he kept getting picked and remained captain shows just how fantastic a skipper he was!
With an uncanny ability to motivate and inspire people, he was able to mould a team into a formidable unit. The Australian bowler Rodney Hogg once said he had “a degree in people,” which best sums up this side of him. He also understood the game intimately and could react in-play to anything that was happening.