I’m afraid I didn’t know much about Tiger Pataudi before his death was announced today. I picked up some snippets during the recent Test series against England, but not enough. If you read anything about his career, read his interview with Sambit Bal of Cricinfo. I’ve rarely seen anyone dissect the perils and opportunities of captaincy as well as Pataudi does. E.g.:
Great players don’t necessarily make great captains. The trouble with natural cricketers is that they never have to think about the game. Everything comes so easily to them. You ask them to coach somebody and they wouldn’t know what to do. They have never had to learn, never had to study. Everything is so instinctive for them.
When commentators say players have a good “cricketing brain,” they’re talking about the instincts Pataudi apparently cultivated. Knowing limitations; looking after players; constantly prodding them, comforting them, challenging, inspiring them. How do you get men to be their best possible selves?