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IPL 2021: Ranking the captains of all eight teams in the tournament

IPL 2021: Ranking the captains of all eight teams in the tournament

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Virat Kohli. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

As the Indian Premier League 2021 gets halted midway, it is a good time to get a little recap of what happened until now. Having said that, in the 29 matches, which were played before the suspension happened, there were some of the most thrilling contests which the fans witnessed over the course of four weeks or so.

In these moments, it becomes a huge test of patience for captains and their teams. In cricket, we have often seen that the teams who hold onto these key moments in the match are able to emerge as winners.

This season we once again saw the captains leading their franchises from the front. However, even as a number of them tasted success, a few of them couldn’t quite live up to the expectations of the fans and supporters

Here are the rankings of all the captains of the IPL 2021:

8. Eoin Morgan

Eoin Morgan
Eoin Morgan. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The Kolkata Knight Riders’ team was handed over by Dinesh Karthik to England’s World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan midway through the 2020 season. KKR failed to qualify for the playoffs last year but were looking at a turnaround with their champion skipper leading from the front. However, much to the surprise of many fans, Morgan’s tactics couldn’t have a good season.

Having lost five out of their seven matches, it seemed that KKR was in complete disarray in terms of their plannings. Morgan especially failed to adjust his plans according to the resources available to him. From not having a clear plan to bowl the death overs to under-utilizing the team’s most priced scalps, Andre Russell and Pat Cummins, Morgan missed a few tricks. 

Then there was the dynamics of playing one between Shakib Al Hasan and Sunil Narine. While Shakib’s batting skills in T20 is mostly around anchoring, a role which he didn’t get in his three matches. Narine was used at no. 4 or no. 5, spots which he doesn’t at all specialize in. On top of all that, Morgan’s own poor form with the bat meant KKR were sometimes short of runs.

7. David Warner

David Warner
David Warner. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

When Sunrisers Hyderabad sacked their captain, David Warner after the sixth match of the tournament, the news was surprising but something which could have been anticipated. A lot of things went wrong with the Hyderabad team. Why else does a team which has qualified for playoffs every season since 2016, lose six out of their first seven matches? 

It will be slightly harsh to say that Warner’s captaincy is to blame for his side’s position in the tournament. But, it will be more accurate to say that the management along with the captain failed to get their middle-order problems sorted. There was a major issue with the selection policy as well. Hyderabad kept changing their XI when they lost a couple of matches and these constant changes hurt them.

It should also be noted that they played most of their matches in Chennai, on a track that was quite difficult for some teams to understand. But, there is no denying, Warner’s drop in form with the bat had a negative effect on his team, which was a result of over-reliance on his batting capabilities by the team management.

6. Sanju Samson

Sanju Samson
Sanju Samson. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

The move of making Sanju Samson the captain of the franchise seemed quite good when the initial announcement was made. It was without a doubt a move which was made thinking about the future of the side. Even though Samson had led his state team, Kerala, before this, his experience as a leader was quite less. 

Throwing him in the firing zone in a top league such as the Indian Premier League could have been a move that backfired. However, as the season gets halted, the owners and team management will be sort of happy with the captaincy skills which he has shown in his first stint as the captain. One of the highlights of the tournament was his fighting 119 runs in the opening match of his team when they fell short chasing a total by just a few runs. 

Having said that, with the bat, the Royals saw a more dependable version of Samson. Before the tournament got suspended, the batsman scored three 40+ scores, which is a good sign for his improving consistency. Tactically, the management will know that it will take some time for the young captain to get adjusted, but in Samson, for now, Royals can pin their hopes. 

5. KL Rahul

KL Rahul
KL Rahul. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCCI)

Much like Rajasthan Royals did with Sanju Samson ahead of this season, Punjab did it with KL Rahul. As a franchise, Punjab Kings seemed to have found a skipper in KL Rahul, who may not be the best in terms of tactical changes on the field but is a solid man you can trust your team with. It is his capability to shoulder the responsibility with the bat which was impressive last season, and he continued from there. 

There is a constant debate around his strike rate and until Punjab Kings get a solid and dependable middle-order at play, those talks are not going to end. However, it should be noted that of the three matches which Punjab won, Rahul starred with the bat in all of them, scoring 91, 60, and 91 not out. 

As the season adjourns, for now, Punjab Kings will know that making it to the next round in this season could be a difficult task, but with KL Rahul becoming experienced as a captain day by day, there is hope that they can build a team around him. Being among the leading run-getters for the fourth season straight should be accounted as a good record. 

4. Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

The defending champions, Mumbai Indians came into this season of the Indian Premier League looking like one of the stronger teams. Having won the last two titles, the third seemed to be coming on the way. However, as Mumbai has done in the past, they started the season with a few disappointing results before turning it around. 

Mumbai started the season with a loss. However, after that, they picked up two wins, which were unlikely, on the back of some good captaincy by Rohit Sharma and his bowlers delivering key spells. Once they left Chennai, things started to get to be normal, with them carrying out two successive wins, before the season came to a halt. 

Having said that, there has to be a word of praise for Sharma’s batting this season. One may not find him leading the batting charts, but he was there contributing the bat in most of the matches and ensured Mumbai didn’t get off to a bad start. Having said that, it should be noted that he scored 250 runs from seven matches. 

3. Rishabh Pant

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

When Shreyas Iyer was ruled out of the IPL 2021 season, there were lots of speculations on whom should be named the captain. Delhi Capitals made an appealing decision going for Rishabh Pant, in the presence of senior players like Ravichandran Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, and Steve Smith. 

In the little time in which Pant led the Capitals, he showed how he can potentially go on to lead this franchise in the future. Franchisees love the prospect of having a local player lead their team, which seems like something that Delhi can switch to in the near future. Having said that, his batting was something that will not present concern, but Delhi would want him to bat more. 

With six wins from eight matches, Rishabh has undoubtedly established himself as one of the top captains in the league. Now with the current season called off, for now, Shreyas Iyer could be back for the Delhi team when the league resumes again. It will be interesting to see how the team management manages this captain conundrum when Iyer returns. 

2. MS Dhoni

MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

MS Dhoni and Chennai Super Kings once again proved why the form is temporary but class is permanent. After having a disappointing season last year, Chennai did not just come back to prove their critics wrong but also dominated the league. In their seven matches, Chennai won five, losing only to the top teams like Mumbai and Delhi. 

Chennai started the tournament with a loss and before the suspension of the tournament, they lost another match. Between these two games, CSK was on a winning streak for five matches. From backing Deepak Chahar after a tough season to using Moeen Ali at no. 3 to using Ravindra Jadeja in various roles, Dhoni, the captain, was tactically quite perfect. 

It should be pointed out that after an unsuccessful campaign in 2020, CSK came back with a slight change in the team and it is quite extraordinary that Chennai managed to pull off five straight wins. There is no doubt that Dhoni’s men will start as the favourites whenever the tournament resumes. 

1. Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli playing a shot
Virat Kohli playing a shot. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

Royal Challengers Bangalore had an outstanding season, something which they would have hoped for at the start. They won their first four matches, some of which were against top sides like Kolkata and Mumbai. However, their first loss came against Chennai and later on they lost another match against Punjab. 

If you look deeply at the combinations which they have tried in this tournament so far, you might find it difficult to believe that this team won five of their seven matches. Virat Kohli has to be credited for his captaincy and certain decisions. One of which should be the decision of batting Glenn Maxwell ahead of AB de Villiers. 

Apart from this, he used Harshal Patel to pick up wickets and controlled Mohammed Siraj and Kyle Jamieson while also making sure his team doesn’t get hurt by the form drop of Yuzvendra Chahal. This season could be one of the best periods of captaincy for Virat Kohli as far as the tactical side of things is concerned. 


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