Best Vice Captains: The captain is considered to be the ultimate leader of a cricketing team. It is the captain who calls the shots in most teams. There are several coaches who do have a say in the team’s functioning but largely the cricket team is the captain’s to drive. Few captains share a strong relationship with their deputies.
The role of a Vice Captain:
These vice-captains seamlessly take over the team in the absence of the designated leader. Both the people in power know the team dynamics to the fullest. This enables them to make the best decision in the larger interest of the team. Hence teams need a great vice-captain as much as they need a good captain.
We look at the best Vice-Captains in cricketing history: [in no particular order]
# Aravinda de Silva
It was the Arjuna Ranatunga-Aravinda de Silva partnership that made Sri Lankan cricket a force to reckon with. The island nation was one of the few teams who took rapid strides despite making a late entry into the game.
Captain Ranatunga was the clear leader of men. He was someone who backed his team to the hilt no matter what the consequence. Ranatunga’s banker though was Aravinda. He was his Man Friday. Aravinda was an able vice-captain who was at Arjuna’s ears whenever he needed to make a key decision.
# Virat Kohli
He was earmarked for captaincy right from the moment he led the U-19 team to victory in 2008. There had been no captain as decorated as MS Dhoni in Indian cricket. He became India’s full-time captain in 2007 and a year later he was the leader across all formats. Kohli soon became Dhoni’s deputy after the senior members started fading one after the other.
It was Kohli who championed the transition post-2011. Kohli was constantly in Dhoni’s vicinity when the master made impeccable decisions. The greatest batsman of his generation was more a student than a deputy during the Dhoni era. This facet helped him lead the side admirably when Dhoni decided to hang up his boots.
# Kane Williamson
Like many captain-vice captain pair, Kane Williamson was the ice to Brendon McCullum’s aggression. There is little doubt that it was McCullum who shepherded New Zealand’s stakes at the world stage. The world stopped seeing the kiwis as underdogs once McCullum took over. Williamson all this while was playing the silent ally to McCullum. He rightfully stepped in once the maverick decided to retire.
# Ajinkya Rahane
There couldn’t have been a starker contrast in personalities of a captain-vice captain partnership than that of Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane. They were two of India’s best batters in a phase that saw Indian cricket ride through a tough transition.
Rahane beautifully stepped in as Kohli’s deputy as India went on to chart unparalleled success in Tests. But Rahane’s moment under the sun came in during the tour to Australia in 2020–21 when he led the side to a historic series win. The captain was never so proud and happy for his vice-captain.
# Adam Gilchrist
There have been very few deputies in cricket as fiercely loyal as Adam Gilchrist was. He was every bit the vice-captain the captain needed. Gilchrist was Ricky Ponting’s deputy when the Aussies dominated world cricket. He was vice-captain of the unbeaten Australian team that won two World Cups in a row (2003 & 2007) under Ponting’s captaincy.
Gilchrist much like Rahane led the team to a Test series win in India in the absence of Ricky Ponting. He never eventually got the captaincy but showed the world what a team player he was.
# Rahul Dravid
It was arguably Rahul Dravid who made the term vice captain cool. Every Indian cricket lover knew that Dravid was Sourav Ganguly’s deputy when he led the side from 2000-05. There was immense respect in the working relationship between the two. Ganguly banked on Dravid over several key factors.
Dravid donned the keeping gloves at Ganguly’s behest. He took over the role of guarding the middle order in ODIs to guide an inexperienced lower middle order. There was no better sight in Indian cricket during the early 2000s than watching Ganguly-Dravid operate in unison.