The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has had a brilliant first three weeks of action. With super-overs, last ball thrillers and dominating victories, the fans have been treated. This has certainly been one of the most unpredictable seasons of the IPL.
Captaincy always has a major role to play in the shortest format. From the fielding placements, bowling changes, team selection- every single thing is extremely crucial for a franchise to taste success in the league. The captain should lead by example, so that the team is motivated to perform for long periods of time.
We have seen some extremely smart calls, and some absolutely baffling decisions made by captains in these three weeks. They have had a significant impact on the eventual result of the game.
In this article. we’ll assess the captaincy of all 8 IPL sides:
8. KL Rahul- 6/10
KL Rahul has been fairly disappointing as a captain this season after the initial promise. Punjab are at the bottom of the table, and Rahul has to take a major share of the blame for that. The losses haven’t been as disappointing- it’s the way they’ve lost that has been a major cause of concern.
Not sending an in-form Mayank Agarwal in the super-over, giving Krishnappa Gowtham the final over against the set Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya, and sending young Prabhsimran over Glenn Maxwell against KKR in a run-chase against Sunil Narine and Prasidh Krishna- these have been some of the most appalling decisions made by any captain this season.
The frequent chopping and changing has also not helped their cause. Besides, the ouster of star-batsman Chris Gayle for the entire first half of the season hasn’t made a lot of sense. With wins needed in all the remaining games, the ‘right time’ as KL said when asked about Gayle might just be too late now.
7. MS Dhoni- 6.5/10
India’s best captain of all-time, MS Dhoni, has had a rough start with the Chennai Super Kings this season. The primary reason for their under performance this season can be summed up in one word – ‘intent’. And their batting has been the biggest let down.
MS Dhoni is known to take decisions that can positively impact the scheme of things for the Super Kings. However, we see that lacking this time around. Their batting, with the exception of Faf du Plessis and Sam Curran, has been extremely defensive. And the approach of taking the game deep is clearly not working out anymore.
Dhoni talked about the holes in the CSK team after their loss against Bangalore. He said that his team would now ‘hit , or get out’. They would rather get out in the 17th over trying to attack, than play out the 20 overs with a defensive mindset.
6. Steve Smith- 7/10
Former Australian captain Steve Smith hasn’t had the best of starts with the Royals this season. Rajasthan Royals are placed 6th in the points table. And apart from the first two games, Smith hasn’t looked like a captain who’s threatening for the opposition.
While Rajasthan have probably the weakest Indian core, Smith’s frequent chopping and changing the playing XIs hasn’t further helped their cause. Youngsters in other teams are being backed consistently, regardless of their performance. And more often than not, players have stepped on the occasion in those teams. Using Uthappa in the middle order isn’t the ideal way to go about things as well.
Lomror and Yashasvi Jaiswal have not been backed consistently, and neither have the bowlers such as Rajpoot and Unadkat. Plus, Smith’s form with the bat has taken a major dip since the first two games in Sharjah.
5. David Warner- 8/10
SRH veteran David Warner has yet again been among the top captains of the league. Defending low totals even after constant injuries to major players, SRH has had a fairly decent start to the league this time around as well. Warner has been excellent with the relatively limited resources at hand.
Warner has been proactive with the bowling changes. His usage of star bowler Rashid Khan has been highly impressive. Even after the injury of Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, SRH have come back strong in the season.
Warner is also among the runs now, and he’s providing good starts up at the top of the order with English batsman Jonny Bairstow. Youngsters like Garg and Sharma have also been backed consistently in the league. His captaincy might just take SRH to the semi-finals yet again.
4. Dinesh Karthik- 8/10
Dinesh Karthik has captained the Knight Riders since 2018. He has had mixed success as a captain- leading KKR to the semis in 2018, and just missing out in 2019. After a lot of initial criticism, he has come back strongly with both his captaincy and with the bat.
The primary thing to note about his captaincy this season is that he has learnt really fast from his mistakes. He didn’t use Pat Cummins properly in the first match of the season, because of which he got smoked for runs. Next game onwards, his use was spot-on. Rahul Tripathi was sent in at number 8 at Sharjah, and then the next match he got to open which is his usual batting spot.
However, his captaincy has been a bit demoralising for India spinner Kuldeep Yadav. He wasn’t backed properly, and dropped soon as well. Barring that, with the experience of Morgan and McCullum in the wings, he has made pretty good decisions. Russell and Narine have been used extremely well with the ball back in the death overs, as a result of which KKR has clinched two close games.
3. Virat Kohli- 8/10
Indian captain, Virat Kohli‘s Royal Challengers Bangalore have had an excellent start to the IPL this time around. The team looks pretty settled, and the players are performing together like a proper unit. And Kohli’s captaincy has had a major role to play in that.
Kohli didn’t exactly start well with the bat or as captain. He didn’t give Washington Sundar the ball in the powerplay overs in the initial games. He also didn’t get the team balance spot on since the first game. However, he has learnt quickly from his mistakes this season.
He has rotated his bowlers extremely well, and has not failed to give them the freedom to express themselves and attack. The batting order also looks pretty sorted, with Kohli not tinkering around with the existing order that much. His return to form with the bat, with two captain’s innings has stamped his authority back in the league.
2. Rohit Sharma- 9/10
The most successful captain in the history of the tournament, Rohit Sharma has had a great start to the season this time around. Mumbai Indians have won 4 out of their first 6 games, and are easily looking like one of the most lethal teams this season. With his excellent bowling changes, and consistent team selection, the team is doing well and at the top of the table.
Mumbai Indians was the first side to restrict a team under 200 runs in Sharjah, which has been a nightmare for bowlers this season. Rohit has been very strategic in using his pace bowlers at effective times.
While MI is certainly the most balanced side of the IPL this time around, it’s important that the captain performs well. Rohit has stepped up with the bat as well, taking responsibility with the bat upfront. All the players are in the groove this time around.
1. Shreyas Iyer- 9.5/10
Mumbai boy Shreyas Iyer has been the stand-out captain in the tournament so far. He has led from the front, and his decision-making abilities have been top-notch, as a result of which DC sit on top of the table with 5 wins. DC, along with Mumbai, are among the only two teams which have all their bases covered in the first half of the tournament.
Iyer made the crucial decision of giving Stoinis the final over in the first match against Kings XI Punjab. Stoinis did not disappoint his captain, defending 1 run off the last 3 deliveries and taking the match to the super-over. Under him, Delhi also became the first team of the season to defend less than 200 runs in Sharjah.
Although it’s fair to say that he has the resources at hand, he has made excellent use of those. The experience of Ricky Ponting in the coaching staff has surely had a huge impact on the young squad, which looks highly motivated to make a difference this season.
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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