Over the years, people have realized the importance of a captain in the shortest format. The game moves so fast that if you are not ahead of the game as a captain then you will end up losing the game. There is so much more to captaincy than just controlling the field and changing the bowlers. In the IPL there have been different types of captains who have been successful.
There is a captain like MS Dhoni who will go with his instinct and gut feeling whereas there is a Rohit Sharma who relies more on data and match-ups. Both these captaincy styles have been successful and that’s the beauty of the game. There have been many captains in the IPL who have used their own style and have managed to deliver the results for their respective teams. So, let’s have a look at the all-time captains XI.
Openers – David Warner & Adam Gilchrist
Two Australian left-handed openers who can take down any bowling attack on their day will form a formidable opening pair. David Warner and Adam Gilchrist have been great captains in the IPL. In fact, Warner will continue to be the captain of the Sunrisers Hyderabad for at least the next 2-3 years.
Adam Gilchrist who led Deccan Chargers in 2009 helped them win the IPL trophy which was a great moment for that franchise. David Warner led the SRH side to the title in the 2016 IPL season and he was the highest run-getter for his team with 848 runs in 17 games. No bowler would like to bowl against these two openers and it would be a great combination.
Middle-order – Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli & Rohit Sharma
Three solid Indian players – Gambhir, Kohli, and Rohit Sharma could form a solid middle-order. Gautam Gambhir who started his IPL career in Delhi Capitals moved to Kolkata Knight Riders in 2011 and delivered them two titles in 2012 and 2014. Rohit Sharma who was given the captaincy mid-way through 2013 took MI to the title in the same year.
He has added four more titles in the last 7 years as MI has five titles all under the captaincy of Rohit Sharma. Virat Kohli hasn’t led RCB to a title but he has been an inspiration captain for the likes of Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammad Siraj, and Navdeep Saini. RCB reached the finals in IPL 2013 and 2016 under Kohli’s captaincy.
Wicket-keeper and All-rounder – MS Dhoni and Kieron Pollard
There can’t be an all-time IPL captains XI without MS Dhoni in the team. MS Dhoni has done things that no other captain would have dreamt of. Chennai Super Kings, under the captaincy of MS Dhoni, has managed to reach the playoffs in each and every season except IPL 2020. They have won the IPL in 2010 and 2011 and after making a comeback in 2018. They have played the most IPL Finals in the history of the IPL.
On the other hand, Kieron Pollard isn’t a regular captain but he has stepped in for Mumbai Indians whenever Rohit hasn’t been available. Everybody has seen Pollard’s captaincy and he is absolutely brilliant with his tactics and bowling changes.
Bowlers – Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Zaheer Khan, Shane Warne & Anil Kumble
There aren’t many bowlers who have captained an IPL team but it all started with Shane Warne leading the Rajasthan Royals to a title in the inaugural IPL season. Anil Kumble almost did the same thing in IPL 2009 but RCB lost in the final. Both these spinners have done a great job in the IPL with the ball and as a captain.
Zaheer Khan led a young Delhi side and even though they didn’t qualify they were very close to making the playoffs. Bhuvneshwar Kumar led the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the absence of Kane Williamson in IPL 2019 for six games. All these four bowlers will form a deadly combination if they come together.