Why Sachin Tendulkar failed as a Captain?

 Who is Sachin Tendulkar?


Sachin Tendulkar is a retired cricketer who played for India and is now widely thought of as one of the world’s greatest cricketers. Tendulkar started playing cricket at the age of 11 and at the age of 16, became India’s youngest ever test cricketer. The list of his achievements as a batsman is huge with Tendulkar becoming the first cricketer to score 35 centuries in 2005 and in 2008, Tendulkar surpassed Brian Lara’s records of 11,953 test runs.

Record as Captain

As captain, Sachin Tendulkar didn’t quite rise up to the expectations and achievements that he was previously known for. Overall, his win record in test cricket was 16% and his loss record was 36%. In one day internationals, his win record was only 35%. With his win percentages being lower than those of both Ganguly and Azharddin, it is widely regarded that Tendulkar had several issues that stopped him being one of the greatest captains as well as one of the best batsmen of all time.

What went wrong?

Sachin Tendulkar

A number of reasons have been floating around to the reasons why Tendulkar’s reign as captain wasn’t as good as his batting skills. Many people were quick to blame the schedule that India were playing, saying that Tendulkar had very tough away tests to begin his captaincy which wouldn’t have helped him getting used to being India’s captain.

For example, with his first stint as captain, India traveled to South Africa and then faced the West Indies. In his second stint, he had to face Australia away from home in just his second series.  Here are a few other suggestions as to why this icon of a player never reached his peak as a captain.


Sachin Tendulkar

As a sportsman, Tendulkar wanted to win everything, and this was no different to when he became captain of the Indian cricket team. The trouble with this is that he expected every member of his squad to play as well as he did which is a tall order especially following Tendulkar’s success with a bat. Former teammates of Tendulkar share this view with Kiran More stating that “Sachin wanted the other players in the team to perform to the level that he did”. This has also been corroborated by Javagal Srinath who said that “ Sachin often kept him on for too long spells hoping for a victory”.

Team Selection

sachin 4

Tendulkur seemed to have various differences with the Indian cricket board when it came to selecting players and this may have been a huge reason for his underachievement as captain. In 1997, Tendulkar told the media in a rare outburst, that the team he was captain of for the Sahara Cup was an India B team that he was leading. His outburst was flawed though as India did manage to win the series due to the actions of Saurav Ganguly with both the bat and the ball.

However, East Zone selector Sambaran Banerjee says that he used to favor Mumbai players.  He also said that a captain needs to be given the team he wants as long as he is in the hot seat but quite often that was not the case with Sachin. This leads us to ask the question, did Tendulkar have a point?

There is also a rumour that in some parts of India’s cricketing world, they thought that Tendulkar may become an Imran Khan type figure, a dictator of Indian cricket if you will, which could be another reason why Sachin was never given the best team to compete with.

Standard of players

sachin 5

Another reason why Tendulkar failed as a captain is because of the standard of players that he had at his disposal. At the time when he was captain, it was quite clear that India were struggling to find any real talent that could stay within the team for the next ten or twenty years.

The cricketers that Sachin had never matched their full potential and could never replicate their domestic form when playing for their country. The prime examples of this are players such as Sujith Somasunder and Debang Gandhi. Thiru Kumaran was also another name who only played against New Zealand before it was his turn to be discarded and forgotten. The lack of talent on offer in Indian cricket domestically at the time just goes to show that there wasn’t any real competition for places and the results spoke for themselves.


The final reason why Tendulkar failed as a captain is a little bit closer to home than the other reasons. The final reason is himself. This isn’t in any way, shape or form being harsh towards him, but with every leader in every sport, when things aren’t going to plan, you need to question what is going right and more importantly, what is going wrong. There is a significant difference from being just a player to being a player who is also the captain.

When you are a champion and when you have won as many things as Tendulkar and broken as many records as he did, there is a fire inside that says failure isn’t an option. But he endured so much failure as captain of the Indian cricket team that you do have to wonder if he had the ability to bounce back from the performances.

Did Tendulkar, put too much pressure on himself after every bad performance and not focus on what was going to improve the team next time around? There were elements of his own performance that would make you agree with this theory as his own game had started to struggle to a certain extent too.

You also start to wonder if Tendulkar had the right leadership qualities to properly lead and motivate a team when needed. It was unfortunate that his captaincy came at a time where there were plenty of match fixing allegations and scandals, but a true leader would have turned that around and said “let’s not let this get to us” but he didn’t.

Also read:

Leave a Reply