Leading as a captain in a format such as the IPL team can be a tough task. With the changing dynamic at every single ball and leading the teams which have players from around the globe. Oftentimes, the teammates are senior and more experienced than the captain himself. Leading such a team requires one to be a very capable player himself; and we’ve seen instances in the past where even much-seasoned players like Gambhir have faced the burden of captaincy, ultimately losing out on his game. So, today we’ll have a closer look at captains of both teams playing today, to understand how important it is for any team to be led by an efficient captain.
M S Dhoni: Captain Chennai SuperKings
Dhoni is probably the most successful captain of international cricket. He has led the Indian side to various victories in different cricket tournaments and bilateral series. But a big part of his success also comes from his parallel career in the Indian Premier League, where he is regarded as the most successful captain amongst his peers. He has a huge fan base which is known as the ‘yellow army’ and is addressed as ‘Thala’ by his IPL fans.
Dhoni-led CSK from 2008 to 2016, and was also the captain of the team when his team came under the scrutiny of match-fixing in IPL. This is the only controversy, Dhoni has ever been named in. CSK was banned for 2 years thereafter, and MS was a part of a new franchise Rising Pune Supergiants for the next two seasons, i.e. 2016 and 2017. But before getting banned, CSK had already won 2 IPL titles under the captaincy of Mahi. The ban was lifted in late 2018, and CSK came back hard, winning the title for the 3rd time.
Further, in IPL 2019, CSK once again played the finals and were runners-up for the season. This was quite significant for the franchise as well as players since they’ve been continuously questioned and held responsible for the fixing incident of 2016-17.
Dhoni’s captaincy is a part of his cricket career, but even if we forget that for a moment, we still have a lot to talk about. He is an exceptional wicket-keeper and a great batsman too. His reflexes while being behind the stumps, are unmatched and that is the reason why fans miss his presence in international cricket, whenever there is a stumping failure. He has set a benchmark that is definitely not easy to match and that is why we’re seeing the Indian side still struggling to find a replacement for him. His keeping records are the best in the world. His franchise CSK too has benefited from his skills behind the stumps. Not only keepering, his batting figures for CSK are also quite good, considering that he’s someone who always comes at number 6 or 7.
- Dhoni played 9 out of 12, most IPL finals for a player and won most matches as an IPL captain in IPL history. He has won a total of 110 matches as captain in the IPL. He has so far won 105 games for Chennai Super Kings as captain. He is the only player to win 100 IPL games as captain
- Apart from being the only captain to lift the IPL title at home, he is the only player to have scored 500 runs in the 20th over
- Mahendra Singh Dhoni has kept wickets in 197 out of 204 matches in the IPL. In those 204 matches, he has made a total of 152 dismissals. He is the wicketkeeper with the most dismissals in IPL history. Dhoni has taken a total of 113 catches and effected 39 stumpings behind wickets.
Dhoni is a man of records. He has a huge legacy behind him. He has been playing for CSK since the inception of the IPL and has created some milestones for the coming young generation to look up to. Under Dhoni’s leadership, CSK has always made it to the playoffs, barring only the last season of the league.
This is quite an achievement for a captain, but other than that, as a batsman too, Dhoni is one of the leading run-scorers in the history of IPL. Having said that, he has on so many occasions won games for his team single-handedly, which has earned him the tag of ‘finisher’ in the cricket world. Truly a legend he is.
K L Rahul: Punjab Kings
KL Rahul has been in exceptional form since the last few editions of the league, and it can’t be denied that he could make it to the Indian team only because he delivered exceptionally in the IPL format. As the captain of Punjab Kings (formerly Kings 11 Punjab), KL has led the team from being an underdog in the league to being on the list of contenders for the IPL trophy.
One of the few exceptional qualities that KL possesses is that he is someone who leads by example. He has been scoring a lot of runs for any side that he plays for, in every season, which shows his consistency as a batsman.
In 2018, he led the PBKS runs chart by scoring over 650 runs with six half-centuries that included a few innings in the 90s. His opening combination with any fellow player of his team always manages to give a jumpstart to the PKBS innings.
In 2018 only, KL scored the fastest fifty in the history of IPL taking just 14 balls to achieve the feat. His contribution with the bat has been consistent throughout and his wicket-keeping skills are also good. He was given the responsibility to lead the Punjab Kings team in 2020 after R Ashwin was traded off to another franchise. He performed exceptionally well in the last season too and went on to score an unbeaten 132 of just 69 balls, in a match against RCB. This broke the record of most runs in an innings by an Indian batsman in the history of IPL.
KL Rahul has already scored 4933 runs in 140 innings that he has played so far. He needs 67 more runs to complete 5000 runs in the format after which he will become the fastest Indian to complete 5000 T20 runs surpassing Virat Kohli (167 innings).
“KL is definitely one of the players that come to my mind (when you talk about the current India players), I hope he produces the goods like Virat. After Virat, it should be him,” his teammate Gayle told PTI in an exclusive interview in 2019.
Rahul, apart from being a class and quality player, is also a great captain to lead a franchise. He has already proven his skills time and again and we’ll definitely see more of him in the coming days, both as an individual player and as a captain.