Top 5 captains in the history of IPL


M.S Dhoni would take on Virat Kohli in the season opener of 2019.

The biggest extravaganza in world cricket - the Indian Premier League will begin on 23rd March in Chennai with the defending champions Chennai Super Kings taking on the Royal Challengers Bangalore. This will be the 12th edition of the IPL.

Captaincy is an important part of the game. A great captain can make a team punch above its weight whereas an average captain might struggle to get his team together. Some of the lesser sides like the Rajasthan Royals have gone on to win the trophy with a strong leader like Shane Warne at the helm whereas teams like the Delhi Daredevils (now Capitals) have not been able to lift the trophy even once despite having strong squads over the years. We will take a look at 5 of the most successful captains in the IPL.

#5 David Warner (Delhi Daredevils, Sunrisers Hyderabad)

Warner was very impressive as Hyderabad's captain in the 2016 season

David Warner has been one of the most prolific batsmen in the history of IPL. The diminutive left-hander has scored 2824 runs at a healthy strike rate of 142. He also leads the chart for most fifties in the IPL with 36 fifties. Not only that, but Warner has also proved to be a successful captain in the T20 format. He has captained Delhi Daredevils (now Capitals) and the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the past.

Although his stint with the Delhi side was not fruitful, he enjoyed great success with the Orange army. He led the Sunrisers Hyderabad to their first IPL title in 2016. Warner led from the front with the bat and got his team home in some tricky situations during the 2016 season.

He was second on the list of most runs scored in the 2016 season with 848 runs to his name. Overall, he has captained in 47 matches, winning 26 of them. It is a very impressive number for a player who hasn’t captained a lot throughout his cricketing career.

Stats as captain:

Played: 47

Won: 26

Lost: 21

Win percentage: 55.31%

#4 Shane Warne (Rajasthan Royals)

Warne led a team of underdogs to the title in 2008

‘The King of Spin,’ as he is fondly called, is often labeled as the best captain Australia never had. Shane Warne always had a trick up his sleeve and was never afraid to take gambles as captain. Warne caused the biggest of upsets by taking the underdogs Rajasthan Royals to their first ever IPL title. It still remains Rajasthan’s only IPL title till date.

Warne’s faith in the youngsters paid off handsomely as rookies like Ravindra Jadeja and Swapnil Asnodkar performed beyond expectations. To go along with that, his masterstrokes of using Yusuf Pathan as a floater and to promote Shane Watson up the order paid off handsomely.

A winning percentage of 55 is great considering the pool of players that he had. Warne finally announced his retirement from IPL in the 2011 season.

Stats as captain:

Played: 55

Won: 30

Lost: 24

NR: 1

Win percentage: 55.45%

#3 Gautam Gambhir (Kolkata Knight Riders, Delhi Daredevils)

Gambhir has won the IPL title two times with KKR.

Gautam Gambhir is one of the most successful captains in the IPL, having secured two titles with the Kolkata Knight Riders in the year 2012 and 2014. Gambhir is an attacking captain and is not afraid to keep close-in fielders for his spinners even in the T20 format. His use of Sunil Narine has been exceptional over the past few years. Apart from his captaincy, Gambhir has also fared well with the bat for the Knight Riders.

He has also captained the then Delhi Daredevils in the IPL. However, his return to the Daredevils side during the 2018 season turned out to be a disastrous affair as Delhi endured a difficult start to the season, losing 5 out of the 6 games that he captained. Consequently, he relinquished the captaincy and decided to forego his entire ₹2.8 crore salary.

Stats as captain:

Played: 128

Won: 70

Lost: 57

NR: 1

Win percentage: 54.69%

#2 Rohit Sharma (Mumbai Indians)

Rohit Sharma won Mumbai its first IPL title in 2013

Rohit Sharma is renowned for his attacking batting and his ability to clear the boundary ropes with ridiculous ease. Over the years, cricketing fans have witnessed another aspect of Rohit’s game - his captaincy. From nowhere, Rohit has emerged as a great leader of the Mumbai Indians’ set up and has delivered three titles for the Mumbai based franchise.

Rohit has the courage to back his players. It has given rise to stars like Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, and Ishan Kishan. His ability to keep cool under pressure has proved to be an asset for his side. Who can forget the finals of the 2013 and the 2017 edition where despite posting modest scores, Mumbai went on to lift the trophy courtesy of some excellent captaincy from Rohit.

Not only in the IPL, but also at the international level, Rohit has received plenty of plaudits for his shrewd captaincy. In fact, so impressive has been his captaincy skills that some of the fans want him to succeed Virat Kohli as the captain of the Indian team.

Stats as captain:

Played: 89

Won: 51

Lost: 37

NR: 1

Win percentage: 57.86%

#1 MS Dhoni (Chennai Super Kings, Rising Pune Super Giant)

M.S Dhoni has won three titles with CSK.

MS Dhoni is probably one of the shrewdest minds to have played the game. ‘Thala’ has gone on to lift the prestigious trophy three times with the Chennai Super Kings in 2010, 2011 and 2018. His ability to play with the spinners is second to none.

Whether it was Shadab Jakati or Ravindra Jadeja or his use of Suresh Raina’s wily off-spinners, Dhoni has always made full use of the potential of his players. His move to keep a straighter mid-off for Kieron Pollard in the final of the 2010 edition is one of the best tactical moves seen in the history of IPL.

His stint as the captain of the Rising Super Giant was not as successful though, as his team finished on the 7th position in the points table. During the 2018 campaign, Dhoni took a team of “veterans” to the title with some wise use of the resources on offer. Dhoni led from the front with the bat, striking some big ones at the fag end of Chennai’s innings.

Stats as captain:

Played: 159

Won: 94

Lost: 64

NR: 1

Win percentage: 59.49%