5 Players who were backed to the core by their captain

When a player enters a lean patch, the captain’s role increases manifold. It is time for him to pull from the front, push from behind, and say “I’ve got your back!”

Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni
Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni. (Photo Source: Getty Images)
Pratyay Tiwari


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Have you ever led a group of people for a professional assignment? If yes, you must know how demanding a task leadership is. The stakes get much bigger when it is about leading a nation, a movement, or a national team! A coach, strategist, star performer, and assistor- a captain dons many hats when it comes to leading a team in international sports.

Vision, among other things, is what separates a good captain from the ordinary ones. The legendary MAK Pataudi once said “Captaincy is either pulling from the front or pushing from behind”. He meant that there are some exceptional players who lead by example and pull their team from the front, while some are not the best players, but dexterous tacticians and push their team from behind.

The form of a player is like seasons, it keeps changing. And not everyone is Bradman or Kohli, who have the same season throughout the year. When a player enters a lean patch, the captain’s role increases manifold. It is time to pull from the front, push from behind and say “I’ve got your back mate!”

Life is cruel and the life of a sportsman is crueler. You could rise to glory in a blink and could vanish in oblivion in another. Over the years, many talented players came in and were wasted, because to have talent is one thing, to nurture it is quite another.

There have been many occasions in the past when a captain backed a player through his poor run. Let’s take a look at such captains and the players backed by them:

1. Sourav Ganguly- Yuvraj Singh

Yuvraj Singh and Sourav Ganguly
Yuvraj Singh and Sourav Ganguly. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Undoubtedly one of the most successful captains, Dada’s leadership qualities were second to none. He took over the captaincy when the nation was recovering from a shocking series of match-fixing revelations and the image of Indian cricket was tarnished like never before. In walked a man who was a constructor. From repairing the dents to building a team, Ganguly steered India out of an abyss.

As a captain, he identified match-winners and backed them incessantly. No wonder, so many blossomed in his reign. One such match-winner was Yuvraj Singh, who debuted in 2000 under Ganguly.

A free-flowing left-hander, Yuvraj smashed 84 off 80 against a formidable Australian-attack in what was only his second ODI. He showed everyone that he belonged, but soon his form dipped and fitness-issues arose. Yuvraj could have found himself lost in the darkness of oblivion had his captain not showed belief in his abilities.

Ganguly knew that Yuvraj belonged but required time to flourish, so instead of writing him off, he kept giving him chances until he proved the world his mettle. With his fearless batting and electric fielding, Yuvraj metamorphosed into a complete limited-over package. In 110 ODIs under Ganguly’s captaincy, he scored 2640 at an average of 30.69

In his 17-year-long career, Yuvraj had many highs, but none bigger than playing a pivotal role in bringing India’s 28-year-long wait of winning the World Cup to an end and being adjudged as the Player of the Tournament in the ICC World Cup in 2011.

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