As the England team was announced for the final ODI in the Sri Lanka series, at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, the number of awkward shifts that are required to accommodate a woefully out-of-form captain became clear.
Ravi Bopara was dropped entirely, while the need to have another look at Alex Hales at the top of the order saw Moeen Ali move to number three and James Taylor drop all the way down to five.
All of this could be avoided if Alastair Cook had the decency to drop himself for the good of the team, like these three did:
Mike Denness – England
Cook wouldn’t be the first English skipper to axe himself.
Mike Denness was an unpopular successor to Ray Illingworth before the 1974-75 Ashes tour, with his detractors holding the opinion that, as a batsman alone, he wasn’t good enough for the side.
With his leadership and form heavily criticised in the games he took charge of prior to the trip Down Under, his inability to deal with high-class fast bowling from Jeff Thompson and Dennis Lillee left him dreadfully exposed.
He dropped himself for the fourth Test in Sydney having scored just 65 runs in six prior innings on the tour, only for Lillee to break his replacement John Edrich’s ribs and Denness to return for the final Test of the series.
Dinesh Chandimal – Sri Lanka
During Sri Lanka’s success at the 2012 World Twenty20, the side played under two captains.
Chandimal was named as skipper for the tournament, but after a run of low scores in which his average in the format dropped from 44.80 to 28.23 he opted to drop himself for the side’s semi-final against West Indies.
Lasith Malinga took over, won the game and led his country to the trophy days later.
High profile IPL captains
The trend started during the 2012 tournament, when Deccan Chargers captain Kumar Sangakkara left himself out of the side after a lean spell with the bat.
The following year, legendary Australian pair Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting followed the Sri Lankan’s lead in dropping themselves for the Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians respectively.
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