G Force: Captains must be worth a place in the team

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BEING a good captain these days is more than just being a good leader.

There have been teams in the past who have had the player judged as the best leader in charge of the team, but he hasn’t necessarily always merited his place in the side based on form.

That is a thing of a past, however, and you need to look no further than the West Indies for proof of that.

Darren Sammy has always had his critics, and has not been able to cement his place in the Test side based on his performances.

And as a result, he has eventually lost the captaincy of the Test team.

West Indies needed someone to come in and command the troops, bring everyone together, and Sammy came in and did a fantastic job on that score.

He was hard done to by changing the one-day captaincy a while back, but it’s good to see him retain the Twenty20 captaincy, which he is a great player in.

Unfortunately, with Test cricket, he just didn’t seem to be able to provide the performances with either bat or ball that were needed to be a success at that level.

Denesh Ramdin has come in and taken over the captaincy, which is an interesting decision.

I thought it was a possibilty that they might go for a younger player and invest in him and give him the confidence to go out and do the job.

But instead they have gone for Ramdin, who has had a decent last five months but who I’m not sure if he has the consistency of form to last the distance.

He has a tough job on his hands. West Indies are ranked number eight in the world and the team is still reeling from recent heavy losses to India and New Zealand.

Who would I have given it to? Well, that’s the tricky question and there wasn’t a great deal of stand-out candidates, if I’m being totally honest.

But I thought someone like Dwayne Bravo might have been the best choice.

He’s already the one-day captain, he’s well thought of in West Indies cricket and he could have been someone to take the team forward in years to come.

Talking of West Indies cricket, the G Force14 team are bringing another of the legends of the game to the region next month.

We’re holding a gala dinner with Michael Holding (left) at Ramside Hall in Durham, on June 18, and the former pace ace is the main attraction. He really needs no introduction to cricket connoisseurs, but here goes anyway.

He took 249 Test wickets and 142 in one-day internationals, and was part of a West Indies pace battery that terrorised batsmen throughout the 1970s and 80s.

Umpires nicknamed him Whispering Death because of his silent run-up, but we promise you he’ll be in a louder mood at the charity dinner.

- BREESEY

H Tickets for the gala dinner are priced at £40 per person or £350 for a table of 10. See gforce14.co.uk for more details.

SAEED Ajmal spun Worcestershire to victory over Essex in the LV= County Championship with a mesmeric spell of seven for 19.

Chasing 209 to win a low-scoring Division Two clash after bowling Worcestershire out for 120 - Monty Panesar and Championship debutant Matt Salisbury with the final two wickets, to finish with five for 23 and four for 50 respectively - Essex were bowled out for 136.

Jack Shantry (three for 55) did the early damage, removing both openers and number three Jaik Mickleburgh before Pakistan spinner Ajmal took centre stage.

He finished the match off with two wickets in two balls, Ben Foakes trapped lbw before Panesar popped his first ball straight back to his fellow tweaker.

Unbeaten Worcestershire’s third win in five games was worth 21 points, with Essex taking four.

Northamptonshire were left battling to save their Division One match against Middlesex, who were able to declare their first innings at 543 for seven for a lead of 260.

Neil Dexter was 163 not out, adding to captain Chris Rogers’ 106, while Joe Denly hit 70 and tail-ender Toby Roland-Jones smashed a career-best 60 off only 30 balls.

The seamer then returned to his primary role by dismissing Stephen Peters and David Sales for figures of two for 32 as Northants slipped to 88 for four, still 172 behind.

Back in Division Two, Gloucestershire were closing in on a first Championship win of the season after setting Kent a target of 582 for victory on day three.

Kent were trailing by 417 runs on 165 for five at stumps after Gloucestershire declared on 443-6.

and then took a flurry of early wickets, but Ben Harmison (66no) and Sam Billings (51no) put on 96 for the fifth wicket.

Hampshire led by 342 with two wickets remaining after reaching 306 for eight in their second innings against Leicestershire.

Leicestershire’s last wicket fell with no addition to their overnight 296, James Tomlinson removing Charlie Shreck to finish with four for 49 to go with Kyle Abbott’s four for 55.

Hampshire’s score featured contributions from Will Smith (46), Joe Gatting (44), James Vince (56) and Adam Wheater (46) before quick late runs from Matt Coles (53no) and Danny Briggs (26no).