In Sachin's farewell's match, I saw a quote in Cricinfo that Dhoni can hand-over the captaincy to Sachin to honour him like he did that for Saurav.

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I searched about that and yes, it's true that Ganguly had led the team in the last moments of his final match. -Source.

What is the ICC rule about changing the captain in the middle of the match while the actual captain is on-field?

Is it permitted in all matches or just for farewell matches?

  • This question reminds me of ICC world T20 2014 final SL vs India. Malinga was the designated captain, but it was Sanga/Mahela who marshaled the troops during the match :D
    – Dhina
    Mar 24, 2016 at 7:30

2 Answers 2


The captain can be changed at any time during any game, provided he/she is one of the playing eleven (not a substitute player). The law doesn't recognise "farewell matches", so that is immaterial. Dhoni could have made Mohammad Shami the captain if he wanted to.


Law 1 (The players):
3. Captain

If at any time the captain is not available, a deputy shall act for him.
(b) At any time after the nomination of the players, only a nominated player can act as deputy in discharging the duties and responsibilities of the captain as stated in these Laws.

The other answer has a lot of misinformation. It is not necessary that the vice-captain should take over. It usually happens, but the law does not require it.

Also, the captain's job is not just changing the field, as the other answer seems to imply. The laws are not even concerned with who changes the field.

Specific laws require the captain's involvement. Some examples (there are a lot more):

Law 2 (Substitutes and runners; batsman or fielder leaving the field; batsman retiring; batsman commencing innings)
9.Batsman retiring
(b) If a batsman retires for any reason other than as in (a) above, he may resume his innings only with the consent of the opposing captain. If for any reason he does not resume his innings it is to be recorded as ‘Retired - out’.


Law 3: The umpires
2. Change of umpire

An umpire shall not be changed during the match, other than in exceptional circumstances, unless he is injured or ill. If there has to be a change of umpire, the replacement shall act only as striker’s end umpire unless the captains agree that he should take full responsibility as an umpire.


Law 5: The ball
4. New ball in match of more than one day’s duration

In a match of more than one day’s duration, the captain of the fielding side may demand a new ball when the number of overs, excluding any part overs, bowled with the old one is equal to or greater than the prescribed number of overs. The Governing Body responsible for the match concerned shall decide the number of overs applicable in that match. This number shall not be less than 75 overs.

  • Doesn't the law say if the captain is not available? While in the above situation Dhoni was available on the field.
    – Himanshu
    Nov 28, 2013 at 1:26
  • @hims056 That doesn't really matter, for two reasons. 1. It doesn't define 'not available'. The captain could well stand at deep midwicket and claim that he is "not available", or he could say he is "not available" for captaining. 2. The law only talks about what happens when captain is not available, but doesn't explicitly state anything about when the captain is available. The law says 'if', not 'if and only if'. It would indeed be bizarre if such loopholes are exploited in a senior level game, but there's nothing in the law to stop it.
    – Masked Man
    Nov 28, 2013 at 4:55
  • The law of Cricket is very confusing on some points. They really need to be more specific at least for general people. Their terms need to be defined. Anyway +1 for this.
    – Himanshu
    Nov 28, 2013 at 5:00

From what I know, you cannot literally swap the designated captain, but that doesn't stop the captain handing over temporary charge to another player, similar to if a captain goes off the field and the vice captain takes over. An umpire cannot say to a player 'no, you can't change the fielding positions cause you're not captain'. This happened in the BBL, when Faulkner, despite being the designated captain, let Warne and/or White do all the captaincy work, although Faulkner was still listed as captain. I believe the same thing would have happened with Ganguly.

  • 2
    +1, as this post is about icc rules, a reference is better than what you know. :) Nov 18, 2013 at 6:20

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