The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is not too far away. The auctions were recently conducted and as many as 62 players were picked. A total of 127 players were retained before the auction. Thus, the eight teams have 189 players that will be a part of the 2020 season of the IPL which is scheduled in March 2020.
Each of the eight teams have their captains ready. However, there are leadership groups and other senior players who are critical to the side. In fact, it is a topic that isn’t discussed much. Most captains don’t take breaks but injuries are uncertain and players may miss games due to unexpected reasons as well. Thus, it’s important for teams to have some backup options for captaincy ready.
So, here we look into each team’s one backup captaincy option for the 13th edition of the IPL.
8. Rajasthan Royals (RR) – Jos Buttler
After Shane Warne and Rahul Dravid, the captaincy in Rajasthan Royals (RR) has juggled around. There have been only three players who’ve led the franchise but it’s been a merry-go-round. Steve Smith, Ajinkya Rahane and Shane Watson were at the helm at different times.
In 2018, Rahane led RR to the playoffs. However, after a poor first half in 2019, he was sacked as captain. Smith ascended as captain and will continue to lead the team this year as well. However, RR have a few good options as far as backup skippers are concerned.
Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Robin Uthappa or even David Miller will be some of the names. However, Buttler’s name will be at the top of the list. He has been England’s white-ball vice-captain for a while now and has even led England to four wins in the six games he’s captained.
7. Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) – David Warner
David Warner’s addition to the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) has given the team a new dimension. The Australian opener has churned out runs for fun and has rewritten batting records. He’s supremely consistent and even led SRH to a title-win in 2016.
However, his ban from international cricket imposed by Cricket Australia (CA) prevented him from playing in the IPL as well. Kane Williamson took over as captain and did a fantastic job as well. He led SRH to the final in the 2018 IPL where they lost to Chennai Super Kings (CSK).
Since then, Williamson is at helm. However, he has often missed IPL games and SRH will need someone to replace him. There may not be a better man than Warner to lead the side. He is a smart thinker and captaincy also brings the best out of him.
6. Delhi Capitals (DC) – Ajinkya Rahane
Delhi Capitals (DC) had a very busy time in the trading window. They were trading and transferring players left, right and centre. They added some very experienced players and added some nice depth to the squad as well. They had a very good season last year under Shreyas Iyer as he led them to the playoffs for the first time since 2012.
Thus, he will continue leading the side this time around as well. However, DC have quite a few players at their disposal as far as backup captaincy options are concerned. Ravichandran Ashwin was the captain of Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) for a couple of seasons. Ajinkya Rahane is an experienced campaigner and has led different teams as well. There are the senior pros like Shikhar Dhawan and Ishant Sharma lurking around as well.
But DC might opt to go with the experience of Rahane as their backup option. Rahane has been India’s Test vice-captain for a while now as well. He has also led in 25 IPL games which tilts the scale in his favour.
5. Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) – Glenn Maxwell
It is another fresh start for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP). They’re another team that has not been up to the mark. Thus, having traded Ravichandran Ashwin to Delhi Capitals, Anil Kumble, the Director of Cricket Operations of KXIP announced that KL Rahul will lead the side in the 2020 season.
The Karnataka star has been with KXIP for a couple of years now. He has been the team’s best batsman and has been performing consistently. However, KXIP don’t seem to have many backup options as far as captaincy is concerned. They have the likes of Chris Gayle, Karun Nair and maybe Mayank Agarwal.
But they would want someone who has done the job before in the IPL. Glenn Maxwell was the KXIP skipper for one full season and he led the team in 14 games – seven wins and seven losses. Thus, the Australian all-rounder might be trusted upon as the backup option as skipper for KXIP.
4. Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) – Eoin Morgan
After three years, there was finally some limelight on Eoin Morgan in the IPL auction. The last time the England white-ball captain played in the IPL was in the 10th season (2017). He was picked up by Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for a price of INR 5.25 crore.
In fact, after the auction, the question also came up whether Morgan would lead KKR in the 2020 season. However, Venky Mysore cleared the air and said that Dinesh Karthik will continue leading the team. But there is no doubt that Morgan will be around KKR’s leadership group.
He will definitely be KKR’s backup captain. Morgan’s leadership skills are second to none and he led England to their first-ever men’s World Cup title in July last year. The Irish-born has been the reason for England’s revolution in the shorter formats.
3. Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) – Aaron Finch
Year after year, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) flatter to deceive. They are one of the massive underachievers in the history of the IPL. Virat Kohli is leading the team at the moment and has led in 110 games. However, he has a win percentage of just 47.16% as an IPL captain. But he will continue at the helm.
Aaron Finch was bought this time around for a sum of INR 4.4 crore. He not only adds some firepower at the top of the order but also brings his experience into play. Finch is leading Australia’s white-ball sides for more than one and a half years now.
Moreover, he also leads the Melbourne Renegades side in the Big Bash League (BBL). Thus, with AB de Villiers not wanting to be at helm when Kohli is not around, Finch will be RCB’s likely choice.
2. Chennai Super Kings (CSK) – Suresh Raina
There is hardly any debate over Suresh Raina’s inclusion in this list. In fact, he is one of the most automatic choices as a backup skipper. Raina has been MS Dhoni’s deputy in the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) ranks ever since the IPL started.
The Uttar Pradesh lad has captained a handful of games in the IPL. He led the Gujarat Lions for a couple of seasons when CSK were serving their ban. He has also captained CSK when Dhoni was been injured. Last season, the former Indian skipper did miss a few games and Raina was in charge.
Despite Raina’s mediocre captaincy record, it won’t be any different this year either if at all Dhoni misses any game. The left-handed batsman has captained in 34 IPL games and has tasted victory in just 14 of them.
1. Mumbai Indians (MI) – Kieron Pollard
There’s absolutely no doubt that Rohit Sharma and Mumbai Indians (MI) are the most successful IPL combination. Under Rohit, MI have lifted four titles and all of them coming since 2013. He is one of the only four players who has led a team in more than 100 IPL games.
Moreover, Rohit’s win percentage as skipper in the IPL is 58.65% which is marginally behind that of Sachin Tendulkar’s 58.82 which makes him MI’s second-best captain. However, the Indian white-ball vice-captain has constantly been on the road for a while now. He’s been leading India’s charge with the bat at the top of the order across all formats as well.
MI have a good strong leadership group around Rohit as well. Thus, there are a few options. But Kieron Pollard is likely to be his deputy. Pollard is currently leading the West Indian white-ball teams as well. In fact, he even led MI in one game last year against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) and led them to a win. Thus, Pollard will be the backup skipper for the defending champions.
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