London, Sept. 7: Having captained the West Indies in 74 Tests (only Allan Border has led on more occasions), and with such distinction, Clive Lloyd’s berth in cricket’s Hall of Fame is assured. Moreover, he was himself such an outstanding batsman and brilliant in the field.
Now, of course, Lloyd is a full-time Match Referee and has been officiating in the on-going Test series.
Though initially reluctant to talk in the midst of a Test, Lloyd did made an exception and spoke to The Telegraph — exclusively on captaincy — before the start of Day-III at The Oval. Incidentally, he remains the only captain to have lifted the World Cup twice (1975, 1979).
Following are excerpts
On the qualities he would look for in a captain
The ability to motivate, to lead by example... The ability to quickly understand situations and, then, to bring the best out of the players. Leadership is a special gift and the good leaders are ones who get respected. Basically, a captain must be inspirational and should have a presence — on and off the field.
On his own approach as captain
I continued Sir Frank Worrell’s legacy... I brought different people, different cultures together... I encouraged players to shed their insular nature, get professional and be disciplined... We were, till then, labelled only as calypso cricketers. In other words, the sole quality we had was flamboyance. So, I went about changing our own approach and the outlook of others... Indeed, with professionalism came discipline and discipline alone is half way to success.
On handling superstars
Well, they didn’t start off as superstars... Bottomline is the respect a captain has. Moreover, everybody realised we had a common goal and, with that realisation, came discipline. I made everybody aware that we’ve got to take our cricket forward, that we’ve got to shed the traditional labels which kept greeting us.
On what he regards as his top achievement
Continuing the Sir Frank legacy... Besides, of course, having placed the West Indies at the very pinnacle both in Test and one-day cricket.
On his five outstanding captains (in random order)
Sir Frank Worrell: He wasn’t captain for too long, but he clearly was the best thing to have happened to West Indies cricket... He got the players to think and play collectively, as a unit... Made them forget they belonged to different island-nations. As a kid, I remember myself getting inspired.
Richie Benaud: Besides being a very good captain, he was an excellent ambassador for cricket... Like Sir Frank, he did much for the sport itself. Indeed, cricket got a huge lift after that first tied Test (Brisbane, 1960-61). I recall Sir Frank himself spoke highly of Benaud.
Ray Illingworth: A very fine allrounder... He led by example and, like other very fine captains, was able to get the best out of his players. A real tough cookie.
Ian Chappell: A tough individual... Very astute... Again, got the best out of his players. Frankly, I quite admired the way he got his team together.
Mike Brearley: An excellent motivator, who obviously read the game very well. Brearley wasn’t himself a great cricketer but, even today, it’s his captaincy which gets talked about.
On whether, in more recent years, he has been impressed by any one captain
Mark Taylor and Steve Waugh... I’ll give high marks to both... Very positive, able to lead from the front and highly respected. Steve, especially, has that all Australian approach... No quarter given, none asked for... In some ways, Steve has continued the Taylor legacy.
On Australia having different Test and one-day captains
(Grins) I find it confusing... I mean, till Sunday, the players could be listening to and responding to one captain; on Monday, they will have to get themselves on the same wavelength as a different captain! Where does this leave continuity'
On Sourav Ganguly as captain
It’s quite evident he is able to motivate his team... Then, he has himself returned to being among the runs... He’s doing well though, at times, I feel he must think more about field placements.
On what would he say if called upon to address a gathering of captains
Talk about the manner in which they should be approaching different situations, of motivating players... Of leading by example, ensuring that discipline isn’t at a premium... That the ultimate test for anybody is to come through the dark patches... The quicker a situation is assessed and the solution thought of, the better the results. Also, a captain must be willing to take hard decisions — even if it entails either ticking off or dropping a ‘favourite’.
Finally, on whether captaincy has become easier, thanks to the technological aids and the presence of a sizeable support unit
(Laughs) Well, some people may want more things around to be seen as doing more, but... It depends... The question is: Just how useful are the aids and how beneficial the support team' I’m not sure whether everything and everybody is of help. In any case, the basics of cricket haven’t changed... The change, perhaps, is only in the way people think.