Cricket board weighs up option of two captains

By David Leggat

New Zealand Cricket is open to the idea of having separate captains for its test and limited-overs teams.

Two leaders is nothing new on the international stage, with Australia and England cases in point.

The reason the idea is being discussed is Daniel Vettori's departure as New Zealand's captain in all three forms of the game.

There are two candidates to replace him - wicketkeeper and opening batsman Brendon McCullum and current vice-captain Ross Taylor.

No one else seems even in the frame, although in a few years Kane Williamson, a past national age-group captain and well regarded for having a smart head on 20-year-old shoulders, appeals as a future leader.

Both McCullum and Taylor have supporters and NZC chief executive Justin Vaughan last night confirmed the board had not closed the door on the idea of splitting the responsibility between the two.

"I know NZC isn't closed to the concept," he said. "It's a model that other countries around the world have used.

"We've got decisions to make around the captaincy and I'd have thought the option of a split captaincy is one to consider in that whole discussion."

The biggest argument against twin skippers is the size of the New Zealand elite playing group. Unlike England, Australia, India or South Africa, New Zealand have a small number of players of international quality, or even close to it.

So most play in all forms of the game. There are only a handful who are regarded solely as test players, or limited-overs specialists.

Opening batsman and bowler Tim McIntosh and new ball ace Chris Martin sit in the first category; spinner Nathan McCullum and senior allrounders Scott Styris and Jacob Oram fit in the second group.

Therefore most players would be asked to play under two presumably distinctly different philosophies or approaches to three forms of the game.

That could lead to difficulties in the dressing room if McCullum and Taylor each had their own backers, with players having to get used to two voices calling the shots.

Vaughan accepted the idea does have pitfalls.

"I understand that and think it's a reasonable point," he said. "I haven't given it a whole lot of thought and obviously the recommendation comes from the selection panel. I'm sure that's something they'll be thinking about."

The choice of the new captain(s) is unlikely to be made - or at least made public - for several weeks.

- NZ Herald

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