Newly appointed Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara on Saturday gave thumbs up to John Buchanan’s concept of multiple captains and feels it opens up endless possibilities for the game.
Former Australia coach Buchanan, who is in charge of the Kolkata Knight Riders team in the Indian Premier League, proposed more than one captain for the side which has sparked a furious debate in India with Sourav Ganguly fans claiming this was a move to sideline the former India skipper.
Sangakkara though found the concept pretty interesting and said it can be tried out in Twenty20 cricket.
However, he also said communication between the coach and players would be vital for this experiment to be successful.
“If it’s a way to go forward and it shows results, why not? Everyone is looking for the edge to win. If this is going to provide them that in the future, then it’s well and good,” said Sangakkara, who will lead Sri Lanka for the first time in the Twenty20 World Cup in England this June.
Sangakkara said he understands Buchanan’s concept because he believes that leadership is always situational.
“I believe that leadership is always situational. It’s a very interesting concept, and I think it’s all about using the best man for a specific situation,” he told a website.
“It will be tried and tested, and then you’ll find that some people are better at ensuring that bowlers are changed correctly, and someone might be good for field settings,” said Sangakkara, who represents Kings XI Punjab in the IPL.
The wicketkeeper-batsman, though, claimed Buchanan’s concept was not new in international sport.
“Cricket is evolving. In American football, you have an offence and defence, a defensive coach and an offensive coach. And cricket, going forward, might have to look at itself differently. Things like fielding captains and bowling captains are experimental tactics where teams are trying to find the best way forward in Twenty20,” said the 31-year-old.
He also claimed that Sri Lanka have been employing the basic thought for some time now.
“The traditional idea of one captain doing all the work is never really true.
“In Sri Lankan cricket, at different times and difficult times, different people step up to lead the side. Also, we’ve always encouraged a team of leaders who are independent thinkers and who are not afraid to contribute ideas and information on and off the field.
“That feeding of information, as long as the captain has a clear idea of what to choose and what not to, has been the way we’ve been trying to nurture our cricketers. So the concept of having many leaders, many thinkers and so-called many captains has already been working in our side for a long time,” he said.
But Sangakkara has also warned against a clash of egos and players getting confused over whom to turn to.
“If you have two or three captains operating at the same time on the field with the same players, you can have temperaments clashing, ideas clashing, and there could be an overload of information,” Sangakkara said.
“The players themselves may not know who to turn to or listen to for guidance in the end. So you see a potential for confusion.”
The wicketkeeper-batsman feels this could be a PR exercise on the part of Kolkata Knight Riders.
“Hopefully, it is not a marketing gimmick. Something to create more interest towards that one franchise, and to get the public to say, ‘Well, we’ll follow the Kolkata Knight Riders from here on’,” said the skipper whose team Kings XI will take on Knight Riders on April 21 in Durban and May 3 in Port Elizabeth.
He also said the multiple captaincy concept should be given a try out before passing judgment.
“Ideas like this which seem radical and progressive should be given a good run, and we should see how they come off,” he said.
“If it comes off well, it’ll be a great innovation. If it doesn’t, it might look a bit stupid. Either way, it’ll be an interesting time for cricket,” said Sangakkara.