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Half-yearly report: Rating ODI Captains of top 10 teams in 2019

Few of the captains touched the new low despite having a great start to the year while a few hit the hilt after having a shaky start.

Eoin Morgan
Eoin Morgan. (Photo Source: Twitter)

It was an important year for the ODI cricket as its future was dependent on the 2019 World Cup. A lot of games were played across the globe in the lead up to the championship. Finally, the format lived up to his hype when both England and New Zealand played the mother of all finals and now the fans are craving for more of the same.

Right from the start of 2019, the top-ranked ODI teams were preparing for the England carnival. Particularly the assigned skippers of respective sides were testing out different strategies. They also had to keep a check on their trade. In the end, ten teams battled it out and only one captain stood tall on the podium.

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Here are the half-yearly ratings of ODI captains of top 10 teams

10. Gulbadin Naib, Afghanistan – 5

Gulbadin Naib
Gulbadin Naib. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The Asian side started the year on a positive note with a tied ODI series against Ireland in their adopted home, India. Skipper, Asghar Afghan was in pristine touch as he was adjudged Man of the Series. Then out of the blue, the ACB decided to change the leadership of the group and Gulbadin Naib was handed the responsibility. Even though some of the senior players sounded their concerns Naib began his captaincy journey with a win against Scotland.

After that, the team visited Ireland for a 2 match series where both the teams won a game apiece and Naib scalped 7 wickets. Then the next stop was the 50 over championship in England where the Kabul express was expected to outrun some establishes teams. In a turn of events, the side floundered under pressure and the skipper was not able to inspire the squad.

Like a selfish captain, Naib promoted himself in every department and the results were not fruitful. Now after being sacked from his post, he has come out with allegations against senior players and it is not a leadership quality. In the last two months, the dressing room atmosphere of the Afghanistan team has been completely spoiled.

9. Faf du Plessis, South Africa – 6

Faf du Plessis
Faf du Plessis. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

The South African team had won 13 of their 16 bilateral series since the 2015 World Cup and earlier in the year they pasted Sri Lanka at home with a margin of 5-0. The side was looking an unstoppable force as they didn’t allow the opposition to bat 50 overs in any of the games.

Proteas also discovered a new bowling gem in the form of Anrich Nortje who made his cut to the World Cup squad.  They were given the tag of favourites before the start of the 2019 World Cup. Apart from a couple of batting frailties, the side was looking balanced. Above all the African nation was looking calm under the helm of Faf du Plessis.

Their World Cup campaign started with three consecutive losses and from there on the matters worsened for the team with off-field issues dominating the action on the field. Especially Faf who blamed the IPL for the team’s poor performances. He was trying to mask his team’s failure with petty arguments. Though he scored 387 runs in the series his best innings came in the last tie of the World Cup.

8. Sarfaraz Ahmed, Pakistan – 6

Sarfaraz Ahmed
Sarfaraz Ahmed. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

It was a disastrous white ball sojourn for the Pakistan team before the 50 overs championship in 2019. They were pasted by Australia at their adopted home, UAE. Then the side pitted against Three Lions on their home soil and every time their bowling unit looked clueless and conceded the series 4-0.

They had selection dilemmas and the senior players were also not performing well. After the series, the selectors made a wholesale of changes in the preliminary World Cup squad. Finally, they had a bunch of talented youngsters and a captain who retained his position because of his success in the 2017 Champions Trophy.

As usual, their unpredictable nature came to the fore and they lost the plot in the first half of the World Cup including an embarrassing loss against India. The team bounced back in the latter half but they failed to qualify for semi-finals. Sarfraz was not particularly good with his team selection. He made the changes when the team was out of contention for semi-finals. His form with the bat was also on a downslide which proved to be costly.

7. Dimuth Karunaratne, Sri Lanka – 6.5

Dimuth Karunaratne
Dimuth Karunaratne. (Photo Source: Twitter)

After their historic Test series win in South Africa, Lankan Lions seemed to have regained their touch. Soon their sunny smiles disappeared as they lost the ODI leg with a margin of 5-0. It was the 4th instance in 2 years where the team was whitewashed in a 5 match series but the team got some positives in the form of Isuru Udana and Avishka  Fernando.

Though the team was not in the list of frontrunners they were expected to provide quality action in the 2019 World Cup. As per the recent trend, the team again went into the tournament with a newly appointed ODI skipper in the form of Dimuth Karunaratne. The southpaw was given the task because of his success in Rainbow nation earlier in the year but he was unable to repeat his heroics in the shorter format.

Dimuth did a decent job of marshalling the side and also won his first series as skipper against Scotland. In 2019 World Cup he never looked comfortable in his role and while batting he made a total of 220 runs in 7 innings and didn’t lead the side from the front.

6. Mashrafe Mortaza, Bangladesh – 6.5

Mashrafe Mortaza
Mashrafe Mortaza. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

The Bangladesh team was thrashed by Kiwis earlier in the year and their bowling unit was at the receiving end as they took a total ten wickets in 3 matches. They restored some parity and bounced back brilliantly with their tri-series win in Ireland. This time it was their top-order batsman who dominated the proceedings and particularly Soumya Sarkar.

The left-hander was on a mission to prove his opening abilities and the Bangla Tigers got a settled opening pair for the championship. Led by Mashrafe Mortaza the Bangla Tigers announced their arrival in 2019 World Cup by beating one of the tournament’s favourites, South Africa. The efforts suggested that the side was hungry for success and they had the most successful ODI skipper of the nation by their side.

Along with his captaincy skills Mortaza was also expected to shoulder the bowling responsibilities. Surprisingly he looked woefully out of form and managed only a solitary wicket in the entire series. Mashrafe bowled his full quota of 10 overs only once which shows that he was reluctant to lead the side from the front.

5. Jason Holder, West Indies – 7

Jason Holder
Jason Holder. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Jason Holder‘s men began the year emphatically as they tied an ODI series against England.  It was the series where scores of 350 were posted nonchalantly and Chris Gayle was in ominous form with 424 runs in 4 innings. Following that the team played a tri-series in Ireland and there also they performed well without some of their regular stars.

Shai Hope came into his own as he piled on 470 runs in 4 innings including 2 centuries. Suddenly the West Indies team looked like a potent unit and they had all their bases covered before the championship. Most importantly they had a capable leader in the form of Jason Holder.

The all-rounder has been guiding the team since the last 50 overs championship and till now he has helped the island nation in every possible way. Though in the 2019 World Cup he led the side tactically his teammates never stood up for him and the result was an early exit. Holder did his part in both the departments but a breakthrough performance eluded him.

4. Virat Kohli, India – 7.5

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

At the start of 2019, India’s white-ball dominance continued as they humbled Australia on their home soil and it was MS Dhoni who shut his critics with his batting displays. Then the Men in Blue hammered Kiwis on their turf and the series saw the emergence of Vijay Shankar in the middle-order. After riding on a high wave the Indian juggernaut came to a halt as the side lost a home series against Australia.

The team lost the 5 match series after leading 2-0 and it was the first series loss for Kohli in his own den. Still, Virat Kohli‘s men were hot favourites in the 2019 World Cup because of their recent success in ODIs. Apart from their quality bowling attack, they had some of the best white ball players including skipper himself.

There was no surprise when the Indian team finished the group stages of the championship with maximum wins. Kohli’s strategies were loud and clear and as the tournament progressed his captaincy also improved. With bat in his hand, he stoked 5 half-centuries in the series. Unfortunately, their top-order buckled under pressure in semi-finals and once again Virat failed in a knock-out game.

3. Aaron Finch, Australia – 8

Australia
Australia. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

The Kangaroos suffered a major setback at the start of the year when they lost an ODI series against India at home. Then the side reemerged with a sparkling away series win against India after being down 0-2 at the halfway mark. Aaron Finch, Usman Khwaja, and Adam Zampa found their mojo which served them well for their UAE expedition. Australia was to back their best when they whitewashed Pakistan in their den. With the return of their stars, Steve Smith and David Warner for the championship, Australia looked more than ready to defend their title.

The only question surrounding the team was Aaron Finch’s leadership qualities at the biggest stage. All the queries were put to rest when the 5 time champions reached the semi-finals for the sixth time. Finch shut his critics with his actions on the field as he scored than 500 runs in the tournament. He was impressive with his active captaincy skills as his strategies worked for most of the series. In the end, Australia regained some of their aura they lost in the previous year and Finch was the one who repaid the faith shown by Australian selectors.

2. Kane Williamson, New Zealand – 9

Kane Williamson
Kane Williamson. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The Kiwis began the year on a negative note as they were smashed by the Indian side at home. Their batting unit failed throughout the series as they were not able to cross the 250 marks even once. Then they retrieved some respectability when they pasted the visitors Bangladesh 3-0. In that series, Martin Guptill‘s twin centuries were the biggest positives for the Black Caps and it was a major boost before the 2019 championship.

Their new-look bowling unit also looked settled for tougher challenges. Having said that Kane Williamson was going to be their trump card in the 2019 World Cup as his elegant batting and leadership qualities go hand in hand. After blowing hot and cold in group-stages the Kiwis punched above their weight in semi-finals and finals.

During all this Williamson was ticking all the right boxes as he led the side to their second consecutive World Cup final. He accumulated close to 550 runs in the series including two centuries. Kane also won millions of hearts for his composure on the field even when his team lost the finals in an unusual manner.

1. Eoin Morgan, England – 9.5

Eoin Morgan
Eoin Morgan. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Eoin Morgan-led side began the year with a tied series against West Indies. It was a tough pill to swallow as they were held back by a team who won their last bilateral series way back in 2014. Then their batting unit almost messed it up against their neighbours, Ireland in a one-off match. In the same match, three England players made their ODI debut including fast bowler, Jofra Archer.

Following that they dismantled the Pakistan team in a home series and they were high on confidence before entering the 2019 championship. It was a test of character for the England team as they were playing on home soil and there were a lot of expectations. After losing their track in the midway of the tournament the Brits reached the knock-out stages. It was Morgan’s decision-making skills which helped the side when they were under the pump.

From there on England looked like a champion side and they played like one. In the end, the revolution started by the Irishman in the English white-ball cricket paid rich dividends. England lifted the 50 overs title for the first time in their cricketing history and Morgan’scontributions was invaluable.

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