From the Nursery End: The Middlesex captaincy is a poisoned chalice

15:21 25 May 2012

Neil Dexter

Neil Dexter

© Sarah Williams 2012

In the 14 seasons since Mike Gatting retired (can it really be that long?), Middlesex have been through eight official captains, nine if you count Rogers. Go on, name them! Answer at the end.|

So the captaincy is a poisoned chalice. Having had it passed to him when Neil Dexter wanted to rediscover his form, the run-machine that is Chris Rogers and the new - if temporary – captain is probably having his worst start in County Championship cricket.

I’m not going to check that statement, but for a man whose career average is over 50, nine innings producing 152 runs at under 17 is some bad patch.

Not that anyone else has been in the runs much this year on these dodgy pitches, in the cold and rain. But now the sun has come out, let the runs flow and the batting points accumulate. Soon, anyway.

But back to captaincy. In the 14 seasons since Mike Gatting retired (can it really be that long?), Middlesex have been through eight official captains, nine if you count Rogers. Go on, name them! Answer at the end.|

Gatting and before him Mike Brearley covered about 25 seasons between them, the most successful in the club’s history. I remember not even bothering to go to yet another one-day final because getting to finals was just business as usual. And since The Era Of The Mikes I need hardly tell you, trophies have been few.

If a settled captaincy correlates to team success (Plum Warner was in charge for 12 seasons covering Championship-winning side of the 1920s) does one cause the other? In other words, while the team is winning, the captain doesn’t resign or get sacked.

Or does a long-term captain who knows what he’s doing and has the support of the team and committee become a winning captain? (Don’t ask me, I don’t know anything. I thought Ed Smith was the new Brearley.) Someone should do a study and let us know.

Official Middlesex captains 1999 to the present: Ramprakash, Langer, Fraser, Strauss, Hutton, Smith, Udal, Dexter.

That’s the sort of list that you know when you see it, but if you’re anything like me there’s always one or two you don’t remember, which can be a different one or two at different times.

Impressed if you got them all. Bet you can’t do Middlesex overseas players since 1990.

Follow me on Twitter @ Laurence_Klein

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