Glamorgan’s Division Two campaign has been transformed since Jacques Rudolph stepped down as skipper and handed the reins to quick bowler Michael Hogan. In his latest column, Richard Thomas explains why batsmen don’t always know best.
Changing you leader in times of trouble is not something that is usually to be recommended. Apparently, it doesn’t make for strong and stable government.
But Jacques Rudolph’s decision to step down as Glamorgan skipper in the four-day format to be replaced by Michael Hogan could not have worked any better it seems.
Because the Australian seam bowler has masterminded back-to-back victories over Durham and Worcestershire. Glamorgan are now a team to be reckoned with in Division Two. Also worth mentioning that since relinquishing the badge Rudolph has been in the runs.
When the side lost the opening two matches badly and then recorded a pair of uninspired draws the Welsh county did not resemble a side about to go on a winning streak.
But Hogan, despite being as old as 28 when he made his first-class debut for Western Australia, has obviously developed a cricket brain. He’s not necessarily the archetypal, big-booted fast bowler who trudges back to the long grass at the end of his over.
Classically, cricket teams are captained by batsmen. For instance, Australia have not had a bowling Test captain since Richie Benaud did the job more than 50 years ago.
And the world’s current fab four batsmen Joe Root (England), Virat Kohli (India), Steve Smith (Australia), and Kane Williamson (New Zealand) captain their countries.
There have been exceptions to the ‘batsman must be captain’ rule. Bob Willis for England in the 1980s was far from being a natural leader but had a record of 18 Tests with seven victories and five defeats, while Courtney Walsh led the West Indies 22 times (six wins, nine draws).
Like Willis and Walsh, Hogan is a big, experienced man who demands respect and it has been an inspired appointment, which Hogan readily admits he was surprised to be given.
But now he has the job he is finding the formula for winning right and it is not affecting his own form as five wickets in the win over Worcestershire would suggest. He says he is trying to bring more “structure” to his team.
“It’s a method in how we approach the game,” said Hogan.
“We had a bit of freedom in the past to go out and play how we feel. We’re asking for more of a structured innings or bowling performance.”
*Glamorgan’s next two matches are against Durham (Riverside) and Derbyshire, two sides who have yet to register a four-day win. Glamorgan will take on Derbyshire on June 26, which will be the first day/night Specsavers County Championship match ever held at The SSE SWALEC. That challenge will no doubt present its own captaincy conundrums.