The Art of Captaincy
Handling The Media
In this day and age, even at club level, the modern cricket captain needs to be a media-savvy individual. Admittedly, your only contact with the media is likely to be with the local paper, but you still need to approach this with caution.
Using the world of football management as a guide, there are a few approaches to tackling the fourth estate:
This approach is to make it all about you and protect the players from scrutiny.
Victory: It was all down to your tactical masterplan. No other captain could have out-thought the opposition like you did. The players were prepared for every eventuality and followed your strategy to the letter. Any good individual performances are noted.
Defeat: How did they manage to win? Your team should never have lost to them especially as they were so well prepared. Something sinister is at work, possibly the condition of the pitch, the umpires or imply indirectly that somebody from the higher echelons of the league don't want your team to win.
aka Collective Responsibility
The team that wins together, loses together. No man is bigger than the team.
Victory: A fine team effort. Everybody worked for each other to achieve the win. Morale is excellent. Any exceptional performances are noted.
Defeat: No one man is responsible for the loss. If anyone's to blame, then it's you. The team will regroup, morale is still good and we'll look to improve for the next game. Draw any positives you can from the performance.
aka Style Over Substance
This approach is to highlight how well your team plays, and not necessarily focusing on the result. Emphasise how well the youth players are doing, as it all fits in to the long term plan.
Victory: A good team effort, achieved with a certain élan. Comment on how your team is very easy on the eye, the batsmen scored all their runs with glorious ground strokes off the middle of the bat and your bowlers didn't need to stoop to claiming wickets via lbw, their victims were all clean-bowled or dismissed with neatly held catches.
Ignore any controversial moments that may have swung the result.
Defeat: A regrettable outcome, but this only highlights the opposition's desire to win at all costs by playing ugly cricket. Their approach was more suited to T20 than the purer test form of the game that your stylish, young side was trying to play.
Also point out how the opposition are all cross-bat sloggers who rarely find the middle of the bat and their bowlers appeal for anything that hits the pads.
Refer to any controversial decisions that may have led to the loss.
A high-risk strategy that follows the Mourinho model to some extent. The skipper accepts all the plaudits but lays the blame squarely on the players' shoulders when things go awry.
Victory: This is exactly how I told them to play and because they listened we won. Grudgingly highlight any good performances if they've somehow played better than the skip.
Defeat: We lost to that lot? I did my bit, but the rest just didn't follow orders. If this sort of thing goes on for much longer then I'll either have to find some new players who do as they're told, or I'll be moving on to pastures new...
Similar to the Keane approach, but you should cultivate a cosy relationship with the press to help deflect any criticism coming your way. Always emphasise that you're the best man for the job and ignore any achievements of other captains who may be achieving better results with less resources, especially if they hail from overseas.
Victory: A fantastic result for the lads. We've come a long way since I took charge, did you see what state we were in when I took over? With a couple more top, top players we will really be challenging for the top.
Defeat: I don't know how we lost that one, what were they doing out there? When I came into the job these were good players, but were underperforming for the last skipper and needed an arm around their shoulder. Now they do this, I've been let down today.
Send your vice captain to speak to the press.
Disclaimer: This is a satirical article, not based on any form of the PRT Coaching Manual. This publication does not exist, well not yet anyway...