The Spin | Gambling on captain Cameron may prove light-bulb moment for Durham

Cameron Bancroft has never played for Durham but in 1998 Somerset took a punt with Jamie Cox and never looked back

Cameron Bancroft is not the first Australian to be made captain of a county cricket club he has never represented. In 1998 Somerset were in a similar quandary to Durham this spring. They were casting around for a captain as counties so often do because it is such a difficult job to fill satisfactorily.

In contrast to the majority of team sports the captain in cricket is much more than a titular post. He is the key man, who makes the most important decisions – in between clocking up vital runs and wickets – and the best coaches understand that. It is no coincidence that only one sport has triggered a publication entitled The Art of Captaincy and that is cricket. Mike Brearley’s book was published in 1985 and despite the advent of Twenty20, slower-ball bouncers and all those highly paid coaches it remains a source of wisdom to any aspiring captain, something to read on the long flight from Perth, perhaps.

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