Usually, bowlers are not given the task to lead a cricket team. The understanding behind this is simple. The impact of captaincy is the most when the team is fielding. Since the bowler will have to concentrate on his primary skill, management usually doesn’t give the player the additional burden. That said, the trend is changing now. Pat Cummins was recently appointed as the skipper of the Australian Test Team. He did well and looks set for a long stint. Talking about India, Jasprit Bumrah was recently the vice-captain of the team. It would not be long before he gets to captain the country. Before him, there have been a few pure bowlers who have led India in Tests. In this article, we take a look at four pure bowlers who have captained Team India in Tests so far.
1) Ghulam Ahmed (1955-1959)
Captaincy Statistics in Tests: Matches: 3 || Wins: 0
Ghulam Ahmed was an off-spinner who led Team India in Tests. Hailing from Hyderabad, the player was at the helm for three games but could not help the team seal a victory.
He had a pretty good career, collecting 68 wickets in 22 games. After retirement, he served as the Secretary of BCCI for a few years and was also the manager of Team India for a while.
2) Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan (1974-1979)
Captaincy Statistics in Tests: Matches: 5 || Wins: 0
S Venkataraghavan is one of the pure bowlers who have captained Team India in Tests so far. He was part of the famous Indian spin quartet in the 1970s. Apart from being a special bowler, he was also an intelligent captain.
The Chennai-based player captained India in the 1975 and 1979 World Cup. In Tests, he played 57 games for the country and collected 156 wickets. However, as a captain, he could not help India win a game. After retirement, he got into administration. He managed Team India for a while and later also took umpiring as a profession.
3) Bishan Singh Bedi (1976-1978)
Captaincy Statistics in Tests: Matches: 22 || Wins: 6
Usually, the bowlers of this era got very few games to show their captaincy skills. However, it was different with the legendary Bishan Singh Bedi. In 1976, he was appointed as the captain of the team, succeeding Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi.
The left-arm spinner enjoyed some fine wins as the skipper. He led the country to wins against West Indies and New Zealand. However, there was a dull period and later on, Sunil Gavaskar took over from Bedi. In 67 Tests, the player finished with a total of 266 scalps.
4) Anil Kumble (2007-2008)
Captaincy Statistics in Tests: Matches: 14 || Wins: 3
Anil Kumble is also one of the pure bowlers who have captained Team India in Tests so far. He is the latest bowler to have captained the Indian Cricket Team.
After Rahul Dravid quit captaincy, the selectors were in a dilemma. MS Dhoni was anyways taking over as the skipper of the shorter formats but he was deemed too inexperienced to do the job in Tests. The other options did not seem fit for the role. Hence, Anil Kumble was given the task to lead India in the transition period after which MSD would take over. The highest Test wicket-taker for India did not have a great stint. He could not lead India to many victories and eventually when his form had also started deteriorating, Kumble announced retirement from the game. MS Dhoni was then the logical successor to Anil.