#4 Mike Brearley placing a helmet at short mid-wicket
The author of the Bible of cricket captaincy- a book titled “The Art of Captaincy”, Mike Brearley was arguably the best captain the cricketing world ever produced. Gifted with an incisive brain and a predisposition to take the game forward under all circumstances, he was the most innovative captain of all times.
He always had a way to contend situations of warying degree and often flouted traditions to wangle out a win for his side.
In a first class match against Surrey at Lord’s in 1977, Brearley captaining Middlesex won the toss and elected to field first on a green surface. Surrey was bundled out for 49 and Middlesex instead of beginning their innings declared at 0-0 forcing Surrey into the minefield, yet again.
In the third innings Surrey could manage only 89 and Middlesex chasing 139 on an improved surface, romped home with 9 wickets to spare.
In a One Day International during the closing stages placed all of his fielders including the wicket keeper on the boundary line, literally allowing only a single to be scored at the most off each ball. This prompted fielding circles to be made mandatory for all One Day Internationals.
But the most startling of all tactics was to ensnare some lackadaisical Yorkshire batsmen in 1980. The oppositions were not looking to score runs and that made the game dawdle. Mike Breareley, who according to the slow left arm spinner Phil Edmonds, “Things happened when he was in charge, because he was always wanting to do something to ensure that they did”, came up with one of the most uncanny ruses.
He placed a helmet at short mid-wicket hoping that the batsmen would hit across the line, against the spin to collect easy five runs. Even though, the ploy didn’t work out as well as he would have like to, it prompted a change in regulations as ICC only allowed the spare helmet to be placed behind the wicket keeper after that.