THERE will be a little bit Mark Waugh and Steve Waugh evident in the NSW team in today’s one-day clash with Victoria. If you watch closely, you’ll also see hints of Shane Warne, Sachin Tendulkar and Shaun Pollock. And doubtless there will shades of Brad Haddin and Simon Katich on view.
The styles and direction of these leaders will all be conveyed on to North Sydney Oval through Dominic Thornely, who will get to lead the Blues not only today, but likely many times throughout the season, with regular Blues captains Haddin and Katich in the Australian side.
The Blues might be jittery about their lack of experienced players for this campaign but Thornely will employ the knowledge he has gained from playing under Warne, Tendulkar and company in his quest to bring out the best in his troops.
Thornely jokes about his first outing as Blues captain – when they were bowled out by Tasmania for 53 and he quipped to Katich that he could have the captaincy back – but the captains he has played under at NSW, Mumbai and Hampshire have left him with a great knowledge base which he intends to employ. His first step has been to use the lessons in man-management he learnt from Haddin.
"I think Brad is the best captain I’ve had because he has a real gift of being able to treat a player the way that player would respond best," Thornely said.
"He’s very good at man-management. If a player needed to get shouted at, Brad would do it. But if another player needed a bit more loving, Brad could do that, too. We have a young group now, and the most important thing I’ve found is that I needed to spend time with them and get to know them.
"They’re young but they’ve got great abilities and they’re always asking questions. I may not have all the answers, but if I can give them something of what I’ve learnt then I feel it’s part of my job."
Thornely was also attracted to an aspect of the style used by Warne and Steve Waugh. Although he wants to be a source of advice for the younger players, he also sees merit in letting them play naturally.
"’Warney’ and ‘Tugga’, in particular, really backed their players and made sure they were full of confidence before every game," he said.
"I want to ensure my players feel that way, too. I don’t want to hold anyone back. I want to let them off the leash and let them play."
NSW: D Thornely (c), A Bird, N Bracken, M Cameron, P Forrest, N Hauritz, M Henriques, P Hughes, U Khawaja, G Lambert, S O’Keefe, D Smith, S Smith, D Warner. (Two to be omitted)