Michael Clark finds T20 cricket hardest format to captain
Kolkata: A captain of a cricket team is challenged the most in the shortest format of the game, T20, former Australia skipper Michael Clarke said on Saturday.
"T20 cricket is probably the hardest format of the game to be captain in because it's all about your gut instinct," Clarke told reporters on the sidelines of his academy "Michael Clarke cricket academy" joining hands with a city-based counterpart in helping budding cricketers train in Australia.
"You don't have time to go and talk to your vice-captain or talk to your other senior players. Or stand beside your wicketkeeper at slip and ask for his advice.
"You see it, you feel it and you have to make a decision straightaway. I think captaincy is one of the most underrated things in T20 cricket. A great captain can win you a tournament.
Citing the example of former compatriot and legendary leg-spinner Shane Warne, who led now-suspended Rajasthan Royals to an improbable Indian Premier League triumph in the inaugural year, Clarke said: "Shane Warne is a great example of that. The way he led Rajasthan, that team, to the final. Yes they did well as a team but he got the best out of his players and he captained that team tactically very very well."
Clarke was captain of Australia for three years between 2007-2010. During his time, the Baggy Green won 12 times losing just four encounters.
Currently in IPL 10, there are three Australians captaining their respective franchises. While defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad are led by David Warner, Rising Pune Supergiant have national team skipper Steve Smith and Kings XI Punjab have Glenn Maxwell in charge.
Clarke rated Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Gautam Gambhir and Delhi Daredevils captain Zaheer Khan as the two best ones this season.
"Gambhir has been outstanding. Zaheer Khan has been phenomenal as well. You have to make really quick decisions as a captain in the shortest format. Sometimes they work sometimes they don't.
Gambhir has led KKR to two IPL titles in 2012 and 2014 while Zaheer's leadership skills have impressed many although Delhi have failed to qualify for the playoffs.
Asked to name the Indian players who have impressed Clarke in this edition, the 36-year old said: "The Pandya (Hardik and Krunal) brothers from Mumbai. (Ajinkya) Rahane from Mumbai. Rishabh Pant, watching him bat last night... There are so many...There is so much talent in Indian cricket and that's why I love the IPL so much because it exposes Indian talent and gives the world an opportunity to see how good these players are."
"If you don't have tournaments like the IPL, these guys aren't seen until they make the best XI. India has so many wonderful players it's hard to get into that XI.
"It's like the (Big Bash League) BBL in Australia. The Big Bash had done exactly the same. It has allowed young Australian players the opportunity to play in front of big crowds, under pressure, televised games, You learn that before getting to the international stage. I think Indian cricket is in really safe hands. There is a lot of talent."
Clarke did not want to read too much into Royal Challengers Bangalore's poor show this term, saying the team led by India captain Virat Kohli will bounce back next time.
"RCB has got a lot of talented players, they are led very well by a wonderful captain in Virat Kohli. They haven't performed very well this season but I am confident they will turn it around next year."