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5 risky captaincy picks that turned out to be brilliant decisions

Five captains who were not the first-choice, but led their teams to great heights in difficult circumstances.

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Tim Paine
Tim Paine. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Captains are the most important entities in any team-based sport and cricket is no exception. A captain of a team in cricket shoulders many responsibilities and that is why captains are picked after much deliberation. Hence, a leader not only formulates strategies and game plans to be used in the middle and improvises on them as per the situation, but the biggest responsibility of a skipper is managing the players on the field. Every player has his pros and cons as per their personality and the captain has to handle them cleverly by converting those traits into a match winner for the team.

Often players are groomed into captaincy, given ample time to show and sharpen their skills while learning from the best. But sometimes it has happened that the management is forced to opt for someone completely new and often the decision backfires. But sometimes the chosen candidate not only flourishes in the captaincy role but also exceeds the expectations, thereby benefitting the team in the long run and the turbulent times. 

Here's a look at five of those captaincy picks that proved to be absolute masterstrokes:

5. Tim Paine (Australia)

Tim Paine
Tim Paine. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Tim Paine made his Australia debut in 2010 but had to miss quite a lot of cricket after sustaining multiple injuries to his finger and even contemplated retirement from the game at one stage. However, as Australia tried multiple options in the wicketkeeping role post Brad Haddin’s retirement, Paine got his opportunity and he grabbed it with both hands. He kept well and contributed with the bat as well.

However, he became the Australian captain in the most unusual circumstances. Steve Smith, the former Australia captain, David Warner, then Australia vice-captain, and Cameron Bancroft were banned for their involvement in the Sandpaper gate incident in the Cape Town Test against South Africa, back in 2018. All three copped bans and with no one left, Cricket Australia made Tim Paine the Australia captain. He started poorly as Australia lost the Test series to South Africa. He then lost the ODI series in England and lost the Test series to Pakistan in UAE.

India then thrashed Australia in their backyard for the first time in the 2018-19 series. However, he managed to retain the Ashes series in 2019 in England and won five Tests at home against Pakistan and New Zealand. He also won a Test series against Sri Lanka at home. However, his tenure came to an abrupt end rather unceremoniously, when he was forced to resign ahead of Ashes 2021, after his s**ting scandal of 2017, came out in the public domain. 

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