The much-awaited moment is almost round the corner as the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is set to go underway in the United Arab Emirates from 19th September 2020. The COVID pandemic has hit the sporting industry in unimaginable ways, however, it is resurrecting gradually. England Cricket Board’s (ECB) successful conduction of a Test series against West Indies and Pakistan, an ODI series against Ireland, and the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) in West Indies, are heartening examples of cricket’s smooth resumption.
The deteriorating state of affairs in India forced the conduction of the IPL this year to UAE, however, the BCCI made unprecedented arrangements to ensure that the IPL is delayed but not cancelled. As the marquee event inches towards its commencement, there are issues that all the franchises will need to be wary of. Despite all the arrangements and safeguards meant to secure the health and safety of players and other stakeholders, the odd chance of the contraction with the virus cannot be overruled.
The pathogen seems to be a lover of equality and it does not distinguish on the basis of color, caste, sex, race, or from a cricketing perspective, the role players perform for their respective teams. Hence, a batsman is as vulnerable as a bowler; spinner as much as a pacer, and vice-captain as much as a captain. However, there are protocols in place for the situation of a player falling ill in the middle of the tournament and the replacements to be made thereof as well.
The cause of being ruled out from a match is of course not limited to coronavirus but even injuries or niggles. A batsman or a bowler being unavailable certainly adds to the headache of the team, but the headache gets much painful when the leader, the captain of a team becomes unavailable. With the added risk of COVID, all the teams must have some backup options in the slot of captaincy.
Why not take a look at the possible backups in case the designated skipper misses out? Here we go-
1. Delhi Capitals- Ajinkya Rahane
Delhi Capitals (formerly Delhi Daredevils) have had a rather unstable slot of captains and they have been captained by as many as 10 players in their IPL journey: Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Mahela Jayawardene, Kevin Pietersen, David Warner, JP Duminy, Dinesh Karthik, James Hopes, Zaheer Khan, and the incumbent skipper Shreyas Iyer.
Iyer proved his mettle as a captain and ended Delhi’s playoff drought running since 2012 in the last edition. He is a supremely confident and talented batsman who has also established a bit of name in the Indian middle-order. In 24 matches as a skipper in IPL, Iyer has won 14 and lost 10.
In his absence, the possible options for the double Ds could be Shikhar Dhawan, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Ajinkya Rahane. Though none of them have a great record as captains, given Rahane’s experience as India’s vice-captain and Rajasthan Royals’ former captain, he should be the ideal choice. In 25 matches as captain, Rahane has won 9 and lost 16.
2. Kings XI Punjab- Glenn Maxwell
The Punjab-based franchise has thus far been led by Murali Vijay, Adam Gilchrist, Virender Sehwag, Kumar Sangakkara, Yuvraj Singh, George Bailey, Mahela Jayawardene, David Hussey, Glenn Maxwell, Ravichandran Ashwin, and David Miller
There captain from the last season, Ravichandran Ashwin, has been traded to Delhi Capitals in the auction and therefore KL Rahul will be seen donning the captain’s hat this year. The Karnataka-born right-hander has no experience of captaincy, however, he has been backed by the management, and looking at his skill set, he is expected to make a good captain.
In his absence, KXIP will not have too many options for the spot. The probable contenders could be Chris Gayle, Glenn Maxwell, and Mayank Agarwal, however considering Maxwell’s tiny experience as their skipper in the past, he will have an edge over the others. In his IPL captaincy career, Maxwell has 7 wins and as many losses in 14 matches.
3. Mumbai Indians- Kieron Pollard
Arguably the most successful franchise in the history of IPL, Mumbai Indians have been led by some legendary likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Harbhajan Singh, Shaun Pollock, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, and the incumbent leader Rohit Sharma.
Rohit’s success story as the skipper of MI has been inspirational and the team has looked completely different under him. He has led them to titular wins in 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2019. As a skipper in the IPL, Rohit has played 103 matches and has won 62 whereas lost 41.
Despite a brilliant unit, MI does not have too many contenders who can play the role of the skipper in case of Rohit’s unavailability. The most ideal choice for them is Kieron Pollard as he’s undoubtedly one of the most experienced campaigners in this format and has led them and even his national team in the past.
4. Chennai Super Kings- Suresh Raina
The Chennai Super Kings have the smallest list to show when it comes to those who have led them in the IPL. The “Yellow Army” has been led by only MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina: the renowned Thala and Chinna Thala.
Their crazy IPL success needs no description and what else would one expect when Mahendra Singh Dhoni is at the helm of things? MS has captained the team in a whopping 174 matches and has won 104 whereas lost 69.
The candidates who can lead the side in the boss’s absence could be many: Shane Watson, Harbhajan Singh, Suresh Raina, and Faf du Plessis. Watson has led few matches in IPL and so has Bhajji. Plessis has led his national team though he has no experience of captaincy in the IPL. The most suitable choice for CSK, however, should be Raina as he has led Gujarat Lions for an entire season during CSK’s suspension and has led CSK too on some occasions in the past. In 34 matches as a skipper, Riana has lost 20 whereas won 14.
5. Royal Challengers Bangalore- Aaron Finch
The Bangalore-based franchise has been led by Rahul Dravid, Daniel Vettori, Anil Kumble, Shane Watson, Kevin Pietersen, and the current skipper Virat Kohli. Though Kohli’s international captaincy record is as impressive as any, his numbers as a leader in the IPL look pale.
The Delhi-dasher has skippered his team in 110 matches and has won 50 whereas lost 56 out of them. The “Play bold army” has shown belief in their captain and have backed him despite not getting the success they desire. In Kohli’s absence, the potential contenders for the skipper’s role of RCB could be AB de Villiers and Aaron Finch.
However, given Finchy’s experience of leading the Australian team in colors as well as his Big Bash League franchise Melbourne Renegades, he should be the most suitable option. Finch captained the now-defunct Pune Warriors India ages ago in the 2013 edition in 10 matches and he went onto lose 8 of them.
6. Kolkata Knight Riders- Eoin Morgan
The KKR has been a busy franchise in the IPL. In the 12 editions thus far, the Kolkata-based franchise has been captained by Gautam Gambhir, local boy Sourav Ganguly, Brendon McCullum, and Dinesh Karthik.
The incumbent skipper Dinesh Karthik’s captaincy record has been lukewarm; he has won 18 matches and lost 19 in total 37 as captain. The current squad of KKR has plenty of youngsters from the Indian domestic set-u who lack experience and are coming of age.
In case of Karthik’s unavailability, the most obvious choice for KKR would be Eoin Morgan given his experience of captaining his national side and it was his under his leadership that England won their maiden ICC World Cup in a thrilling final against New Zealand last year.
7. Sunrisers Hyderabad- Kane Williamson
As many as 7 different players: Kumar Sangakkara, David Warner, Cameron White, Shikhar Dhawan, Darren Sammy, Kane Williamson, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have skippered the Hyderabad-based franchise in the IPL.
The “Orange Army” went onto win the 2016 edition under Warner’s leadership, however, the unfortunate sandpaper scandal hindered his participation in the following season and therefore Kane Williamson, who has captained his national team for long, was chosen for the job. However, Warner was assigned SRH captaincy in the 2020 season.
In the case of Warner’s absence, the best bet for SRH should be Kane Williamson as he has captained the team in the past. In the 26 matches that Williamson has played as a captain, he has 14 wins, 11 losses, and a solitary tie.
8. Rajasthan Royals- Jos Buttler
The captain’s slot for Rajasthan has been held by Shane Warne, Rahul Dravid, Shane Watson, Ajinkya Rahana, and Steve Smith in the 12 editions so far. The most successful season for them came under Warne’s leadership in the inaugural edition of the IPL in 2008 when they ended up winning the title.
Rahane led the RR to playoffs in 2018, however, his captaincy record declined thereafter and Steve Smith has been captaining them ever since. Smith has played 25 matches as a captain and has won 17 whereas lost 8 of them.
In the case of Smith’s unavailability, the Royals have plenty of able contenders in Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, David Miller, and Robin Uthappa to lead the side. However, the ideal choice would be Buttler given his experience of being the vice-captain of England’s limited-overs team.
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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