Debate: cricket captains

Tommy ChrimesYouGovLabs writer
November 17, 2011, 5:28 PM GMT+0

As fans will know, the English cricket team currently has a different captain for each form of the game.

Andrew Strauss leads the Test Side, Alastair Cook is the One Day International skipper, and Stuart Broad captains the T20 team. Pundits have debated the merits of this split system, but cricket fan respondents to our SportsLab survey found that many agreed with the current set up, though they were divided over who should be captain in the game’s shortest form.

'Different tactics'In defence of the split system, many panellists have highlighted that the different forms of the game call for different skills and approaches. Indeed, some stress that having three captains means that ‘more ideas can be discussed’ within the England set up.

"Each format requires different tactics and temperaments."

'Continuity and consistency'

‘Apart from the lack of continuity, the most important point is that having a different captain for each form of international cricket lends tacit approval to the belief that skills of one form of cricket are different from the skills needed in another. If you judge that a person isn't adaptable enough to captain in all forms of international cricket then they shouldn't be captaining any of them. Adaptability is the essential quality in a captain.’ John King, SportsLab panellist

Across all the cricket fans who took our survey, Strauss receives strong backing as Test captain, and although only a third of respondents support Cook as ODI skipper, that is twice as many than support any other candidate for the role. There is division over who should captain England in T20 Internationals, however: Graeme Swann and Eoin Morgan both receive slightly more support from SportsLab’s cricket fans than official captain Stuart Broad, but no one figure is strongly backed by our respondents.

On top of the world?

Either way, the cricket fans who took our poll believe that England’s cricketers are doing well.

Unsurprisingly, nearly all who took the poll are England supporters. An overwhelming majority of them believe that England have the best Test side in the world; Australia, India and South Africa also get some backing. In One Day Internationals, India is considered the team to beat, with England and Australia a distant second and third respectively. In the T20 arena, almost half of SportsLab’s fans think that England is the best team in the world, followed by India and Australia.

Incidentally, the International Cricket Council (ICC) only agrees with SportLab’s fans to some extent: England leads the way in their official Test and T20 rankings (ahead of South Africa and Sri Lanka respectively), but while SportLab fans think England are the second-best ODI team, the ICC only place them fifth ‒ behind Australia, Sri Lanka, India and South Africa. 

Labs Method statement

YouGovLabs research is anecdotal, with polls being open to all panellists who wish to take part. In contrast to YouGov’s Public Opinion polling, YouGovLabs seeks to understand the attitudes of specific subsets of people: sports fans tell us how they feel about sports and music fans tell us how they feel about music, for example. YouGovLabs results are unweighted, and figures reported do not reflect the attitudes of the population as a whole.