With evolution playing a part in everything, with time, it has introduced numerous changes in cricket as well. Be it the formats, the types of equipment, the batting and bowling style, the ground, and almost everything associated with cricket.
However, do you know whose role hasn't changed? The skipper. The captain was always known to be the player who led the team from the front, by example, and made decisions no other plays could make. Every captain was an above-par player but not every player had the potential to be the captain. However, some players were great leaders and great players but still, their captaincy tenure concluded in a disappointing fashion.
Let's have a look at five renowned Test captains who left their captaincy for various reasons. The stats mentioned below are the Test stats of these players as skippers.
The master blaster was in charge of the team from 1996 to 2000 in which led the team in 25 Tests. However, his record wasn't the best or anything near what was anticipated when he was roped in for the role.
Sachin's record as a captain wasn't the best. It could mean that he was a bad captain on paper but the reality wasn't the same. The captaincy not only proved detrimental for India, but Sachin's form was also not what it used to be when he had no added responsibilities.
Sachin captained India in 73 ODIs as well but lost 43 of them, winning only 23. Sadly, the best batsman statistically and one of the all-time greats didn't have enough luck with the leadership.
Another Indian who is regarded as one of the best batsmen in the sport, Dravid was also at the realm once. Dravid led India from 2003 to 2007, leading in the same number of Tests as Sachin.
Dravid won double of what Sachin did, lost fewer Tests, and drew one less. However, Dravid resigned as the captain of the Indian team as well in 2007. A lot of people thought that his resignation would come after India's shambolic World Cup 2007 exit but Dravid retired after the ODI series with England concluded.
The reason with Dravid was also similar to Sachin. However, the details were more. Dravid's batting wasn't the only thing that was affected due to his captaincy. He felt that it took a lot off him and it was very strenuous on him.
"I was not enjoying captaincy of the Indian team, I began considering stepping down as Indian captain towards the end of the ODI series against England. There is a shelf life to a captaincy in India in which you can give it your best. Captaincy takes a lot out of you, Maybe the shelf life is becoming shorter as time goes by".
- Rahul Dravid, former Indian skipper
Dravid in his first interview since resignation revealed that he wasn't enjoying the role and the fact that every captain has a "shelf life" and it comes to an end at a point. Dravid felt that his time was now even though he wanted to announce this decision after the World Cup 2007 only.
The Wall of Indian cricket was exhausted and thus, came the decision.
An English opener, perhaps one of the best in English history, was also done with leading his nation after a while. Cook was the English skipper from 2010 to 2016, leading the side in 59 Tests.
Cook's numbers didn't look bad in any way but there was something else that forced the batsman to make such an arduous call. A 4-0 loss to India played a significant part in his decision as well.
However, the crux of his decision came as he was drained and accepted the fact that he won't be able to "give his 100%" when it came to leading the side.
"I've loved every minute as England captain, but it's a job you have to commit 100 percent to, and there have been certain times throughout my four or five years in the job when I've been to the well and dug pretty deep. And coming back from India, the way I felt then, I didn't think I had it in me to do it again, because this isn't a job where you can operate at 95 percent."
"When I looked in that mirror, I felt it was time. It was sad in one way because I've loved the honor and prestige of all of it."
Cook led England to win their first series win in India in 28 years in 2012 that too in his maiden series as England's full-time captain. He is also England's all-time leading run-scorer in Tests but the English wanted more than a capable batsman in their captain and thus, Cook made way for Joe Root, who has undoubtedly been a boon to English cricket.
One of the most successful captains in the history of cricket and one of the most prominent personalities in Australian cricket, Ricky Ponting was another great captain who stepped down as his nation's captain. Ponting led Australia from 2004 to 2010.
Ponting barely saw any downs with a world-class Australian squad by his side but following Australia's exit from the 2011 World Cup in the quarter-finals against India, Ponting made the decision of not continuing as Australia's captain. However, he did mention that he will be available for selection in ODIs and Tests.
"I have thought long and hard about what Australian cricket needs. Now is the right time for the next captain to assume the responsibility for both the Test and one-day teams. We have to be doing everything we can to win back the Ashes in 2013-14 and the World Cup in 2015. It is highly unlikely that I will be still playing so it is the right decision for Australian cricket that the next captain now is appointed. This will give him the opportunity to create his own direction and legacy."
"Today is a new start for me and I am very excited about the future. I will give my complete support to our new captain and continue to do my best to set the best possible example for my teammates and emerging cricketers alike."
Ponting also clarified that he wasn't asked to step down but he did it willingly, solely on his judgment.
Faf du Plessis
The Proteas led his nation from 2016 to 2020 and did a great job, while he was the captain. Du Plessis has been an influential figure for South Africa and his contribution is second to none.
As far as the record is concerned, let's have a look at his numbers.
Du Plessis, another phenomenal batsman whose numbers fell apart towards the end of his captaincy journey. Du Plessis was one of the many skippers to have left the skipper role to focus more on their batting and give the youngsters a shot.
Du Plessis had a very tough season of 2019-20 and that was the prime reason why Quinton de Kock was told to take over.
Having stepped down from captaincy earlier this year, Faf du Plessis wants to help groom the next generation of 🇿🇦's leadership group 👇 pic.twitter.com/4Uffn2vysW— ICC (@ICC) May 5, 2020
Well, these captains may have looked commanding on the pitch but this shows how even the best fail sometimes. Out of these captains, which one of them could've actually made a mistake by letting off the captaincy role?
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