The Indian Premier League (IPL) is different from all the other cricket leagues. The money involved in the cash-rich league puts an additional burden on the players. The housefull stadiums, the fancy paychecks and the glittery aura around the exhibition make everyone awestruck. But there have been some instances when such an impact of money had put on so much pressure on the captains that they dropped themselves.
The IPL invites a lot of major cricketing stars from all around the globe. Some even captain their IPL franchise. In fact, there have been 3 times that an overseas captain has cliched the IPL trophy. However, as per the rules, only 4 overseas players can feature in the playing eleven and this has led to skippers to sacrifice their spots as well.
The pressure of being the leader, pressure from the fans, from the franchise and the whole cricket community, changes the entire environment of the tournament. The same has led to several captains quitting their duties and even dropping themselves from the playing eleven. But some of them even did the same to provide their team with required balance.
Here are some instances when the IPL captains dropped themselves from the eleven:
1. Ricky Ponting (Mumbai Indians)
Mumbai Indians started their IPL journey with Sachin Tendulkar as their skipper. Often regarded as the ‘God of Cricket’, Sachin played all 6 seasons of his IPL career for the Mumbai franchise only. To cope up with the growing age and the pressure because of his own batting form, the Mumbai led resigned as a captain but continued playing as a player.
Even after having Harbhajan Singh as a captain, the Mumbai Indians were still struggling to win their first title. Eventually in 2013, for the 6th IPL season, the franchise bought one of the most successful international captains, Ricky Ponting, in the auctions. With new captain in their side, the team was looking confident to finally prove their mettle.
But the move turned out to be a disaster. Ponting averaged 10.4 runs per innings in the first 6 matches he played and the team won only 3 out of them. The Tasmanian batsman then handed over the captaincy to 25-year-old Rohit Sharma against Kolkata Knight Riders on 24th April 2013 and joined the dugout for the rest of the season. He later joined Mumbai Indians as a mentor and the team eventually won their first title under Rohit that year.
2. Kumar Sangakkara (Deccan Chargers)
Kumar Sangakkara is known as one of the greatest cricketers to have played the sport. The southpaw had an ordinary run for Deccan Chargers in 2012. The team was standing at 5 losses out of their 7 games and with just 3 points on the board. The out-of-form skipper, Sangakkara then decided to do the most unselfish act.
He dropped himself from the side and let the Victorian all-rounder Cameron White to lead the troop. In the post-match presentation, White addressed the media and said, “Darren Lehmann (team coach) and Kumar were discussing and decided the best team for this wicket. The team we played tonight was what Darren and Kumar decided to go in with. It was a very selfless thing for Kumar to do, to pick that team.”
However, the sacrifice from the left-hander didn’t do any good for the team as they lost the game to Mumbai Indians and Sangakkara came back in the next game. Interestingly, in the next match, the captain scored a match-winning 82 for their side and won the Man of the Match award as well.
3. Adam Gilchrist (Kings XI Punjab)
Adam Gilchrist is one of the only three overseas captains to win the Indian Premier League title. After the successful run for Deccan Chargers, Gilchrist moved north and joined Kings XI Punjab. The southpaw had an excellent record in IPL but with growing age, the left-hander was struggling to find any form.
With all the overseas players performing well, the pressure on underperforming skipper was mounting up. Quality players like Shaun Marsh and Luke Pomresbach were on the bench and this led Gilchrist to sit out and let the top 4 accomplishing overseas players to feature in the lineup.
He handed over the captaincy duties to his countryman David Hussey. However, the change of skipper didn’t bring any change of fortune to the Punjab franchise. The team finished at no. 6 on the points table and failed to qualify for the playoffs. This also turned out to be the last season of Adam Gilchrist’s IPL career.
4. Daniel Vettori (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
New Zealand’s Daniel Vettori is known as one of the best spinners of cricket history. The left-hander took over the captaincy duties from Anil Kumble in 2011. Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) reached the final of the 2011 season but lost the game against Chennai Super Kings. This was also the second failure of RCB in the IPL final.
Next year, Vettori’s side started off with mixed performances. But after the team lost 2 consecutive games, the pressure kept increasing on the Kiwi southpaw. They had to play Chris Gayle, Tilakaratne Dilshan and AB De Villiers as apart from Virat Kohli as the middle order was inexperienced. But with Vettori in the side as captain, Muttiah Muralitharan was sitting out.
Finally, Vettori took the decision of sitting out and made Muralitharan play the next game. Virat Kohli, the then vice-captain of India was given the captain’s duties. RCB failed to qualify for the playoffs but Vettori’s sacrifice was highly appreciated.
5. Gautam Gambhir (Delhi Capitals)
Gautam Gambhir started his IPL career with Delhi Daredevils in 2008. His performance was commendable for his home franchise but with no success in winning a title for the first 3 seasons, Delhi decided to release all their players except Virender Sehwag in the 2011 auction. Gambhir was roped in by Kolkata Knight Riders and the aggressive captain led them to two IPL victories.
Gautam remained a great asset for the Kolkata franchise with the bat as well but with no luck in winning the title for 3 years, they let Gambhir go. The Delhi lad found his way back to his home franchise in 2018 and was made the captain immediately. A lot was expected from the aggressive batsman but the first 6 games didn’t go the way everyone expected.
The opening batsman scored just 85 runs in the first 6 games and the team lost 5 of them. He finally left himself out of the team and let young and in-form Shreyas Iyer to be in charge. Gambhir did not even take his contracted fees of that season from the Delhi Capital owners and never played IPL again.
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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