Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Players and roles

Allan Lamb has a novel suggestion: make Andrew Flintoff a selector. No, Lamb is not suggesting that Freddie’s playing days are over. He is just suggesting that Flintoff should be involved in the management of the team. Else, Lamb warns ominously, “Freddie he could drift off and not be the player he was.”

This is an interesting point: keep a key player involved in the team beyond his or her functional role. This tends to happen a lot in corporate circles. Apart from your regular job, quite often you are also part of some “company-wide initiative” or other – it could be a six-sigma project, a training or competency development assignment, the entertainment committee, the food committee… It is assumed that such involvement ensures the individual’s commitment to the company, makes them feel part of the company and gets them to think beyond the narrow confines of their roles. And for a large part, it works.

Can such an approach work in cricket? I reckon it can, and not just for the senior cricketers. And not just as an antidote to recalcitrance, as Lamb has suggested in Freddie’s case. It can be considered from a development angle, from an all-round team-building perspective.

I remember a couple of seasons ago, in the Indian team an Anil Kumble was “nominated” a bowling “captain” and someone else (Kaif? Yuvraj?) a fielding “captain” in the practice sessions. A good idea, I wonder why it seems to have been jettisoned.

May be we can look at different roles for different players outside the playing area as well. Why do we expect the captain to be the best person in the team to handle the media and to analyze the pitch, to name just two roles?

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