The Indian Premier League (IPL), in its 13 completed seasons, has seen franchises trigger changes in their staff, captains and other contingents. Perhaps the most important point of discussion among these is the change in leadership position that comes against the background of poor results or some other unprecedented and inevitable reason.
The lucrative T20 league has seen almost all franchises choose to change skippers for one reason or another. While a few teams had favorable results from the tweaks, it didn’t always work for them. Most notably, Rohit Sharma’s rise to leadership in 2013 dramatically transformed the fortunes of Mumbai Indians.
Here are the examples of IPL where franchises decided to change captains halfway:
2008 – Adam Gilchrist succeeds VVS Laxman:
Ahead of the IPL‘s inaugural season, VVS Laxman retired his icon player status for Deccan Chargers. While VVS Laxman was an incredible test drummer, he couldn’t quite perform in the shortest format and struggled even as a captain. In six games, the right-handed batsman has managed just 155 points to 31, maintaining a strike rate of 117.42.
With an injury ruling him out, goalkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist took control. While Deccan Chargers’ fortunes were not reversible in 2008 as they only won two games that year and finished at eight, they rebounded next year. Gilchrist captained the Chargers at the IPL Trophy, beating the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the final.
2009: Anil Kumble replaces Kevin Pietersen:
Royal Challengers Bangalore bought Kevin Pietersen for a whopping $ 1.55 million, making him one of the costliest players that year. But Kevin Pietersen failed to deliver convincing performances with the bat, managing 93 runs in six games and leading the franchise to just one win in three games.
With RCB falling to the bottom, management appointed Anil Kumble as captain. He showed instant improvement in their performance, with the Royal Challengers reaching the tournament final. Kumble’s 16 matches have also yielded 21 wickets, including numbers 4-0-16-14 in the tournament-decider.
2012: Kumar Sangakkara drops as Cameron White takes over:
While Kumar Sangakkara was a decent T20 cricketer, there was little he could do in 2012 for the Deccan Chargers. The elegant left-handed batsman had 200 points in 12 games at 18.18, forcing him to bench for the team. Sangakkara felt the top four overseas players must be among the eleven, which led Cameron White to don the captain’s hat.
Still, it made no difference as the Chargers found themselves in 7th place on the points table, earning four wins in 16 games. As for White’s performance, it was encouraging, scoring 479 points in 13 games at 43.55, maintaining a strike rate of 149.69. But as a team, they have remained mediocre at best.
2012: Daniel Vettori settles down to make way for Virat Kohli:
While Daniel Vettori propelled the Royal Challengers Bangalore to the final in 2011, they were unable to climb the same heights under his watch the following year. Daniel Vettori’s five wickets in 2012 in nine games to 47 were also disappointing compared to those 12 in 13 games in 2011. As a result, the left-arm spinner dropped to make way for Virat Kohli.
Under Virat Kohli, the Royal Challengers have performed well, but not enough to bring them to the knockout stage. Bangalore finished with eight wins that year, finishing the tournament in fifth place. Kohli, who still serves as captain, was unable to lead the side to the top. The best result they achieved under 32 was the final in 2016.
2013: Ricky Ponting drops to make way for Rohit Sharma:
Mumbai Indians roped Ricky Ponting for INR 2.1 crore at the sixth IPL auction and appointed him captain. The former Australian skipper and one of his country’s prolific run-getters could not succeed in the shorter format. Ponting only managed 52 races in six matches that year at 10.40 and a dismal strike rate of 69.33.
Therefore, the Tasmanian decided to bench and pull off a masterstroke pushing Rohit Sharma as skipper. The move worked wonders for the franchise as Mumbai won its first IPL trophy that year, with Sharma also racking up 538 runs in 19 matches. Rohit would go on to lead the franchise to four more titles, with the latest coming in 2020.
2014: Darren Sammy succeeds Shikhar Dhawan:
As the captain who led the West Indies to a T20 World Cup victory, Darren Sammy was chosen to lead the SunRisers Hyderabad in 2014, replacing Shikhar Dhawan. Shikhar Dhawan has trailed 215 races in ten games, with a high score of 45. Therefore, this prompted the SunRisers Hyderabad to appoint Sammy as the skipper.
The West Indian all-rounder led the Orange Army in four matches, winning two and losing two. Still, Sammy’s own performances with bat and ball weren’t encouraging enough, scoring 108 points in ten games and taking three wickets. SunRisers finished this edition in sixth place.
2015: Shane Watson hands over his captain’s position to Steve Smith:
Steve Smith became the skipper of the Rajasthan Royals in 2015, with Shane Watson sidelined with injury. Steve Smith led the Royals exceptionally, scripting five wins in five games, defeating Kings XI Punjab, Delhi Daredevils, Mumbai Indians, SunRisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings. Watson returned as a skipper against Punjab, which was their first loss that year.
After a few lead games, Watson gave up the job to focus on his captain job, clearing the way for Smith to return to the task. The right-handed batsman wore them to the playoffs; however, they lost to the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Eliminator. Smith had 293 points in 14 games that year at 26.4 with a hit rate of 132.58.
2016: Murali Vijay replaces David Miller:
After a disappointing 2015 season for Kings XI Punjab, led by George Bailey, David Miller stepped in for the role. But under David Miller, Kings XI Punjab have lost five of their first six games. Miller’s own form with the bat was horrendous, making 76 runs in six games. Therefore, the franchise appointed Murali Vijay as their captain.
Murali Vijay has completed 143 races so far, scoring a high of 53. Nonetheless, it didn’t make a monumental difference as Kings XI Punjab missed out on a playoff berth for the second year in a row and went down. finished at the bottom of the points table, earning four wins.
2018: Gautam Gambhir resigns; Shreyas Iyer in the foreground:
Kolkata Knight Riders shockingly released Gautam Gambhir ahead of the 2018 edition and Delhi Daredevils secured their services. But Gautam Gambhir, the captain, his form had dropped as he managed just 55 points in six games at 17 with a strike rate of 96.59. Therefore, he let himself down, a move that Shreyas Iyer became captain of.
The appointment of Shreyas Iyer didn’t make much of a difference that year, with Delhi finding itself at the bottom with five wins and nine losses. But the right-handed batsman propelled the Capitals to the playoffs in 2019 for the first time since 2012 and to the finals in 2020. Iyer also achieved 93, one of the highest scores for an IPL captain in his debut. .
2019: Steve Smith replaces Ajinkya Rahane as captain:
In 2019, Rajasthan Royals decided to sack Ajinkya Rahane as captain, bringing in Steve Smith to lead the team. In their ninth game of the tournament, Steve Smith led the team as Ajinkya Rahane’s leadership only ended with a few wins.
Steve Smith hit fifty wins on his return as captain against the Mumbai Indians in Jaipur. However, with the damage already done and Smith’s captain also taking casualties, the Royals ended their campaign in seventh place.
2020: Eoin Morgan replaces Dinesh Karthik:
Kolkata Knight Riders pulled off a surprising move by ousting goalkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik as captain and installing Eoin Morgan in his place. Management trusted Eoin Morgan to transform the fortunes of the Knight Riders as he revolutionized England’s white ball team. Karthik, who had been captain of Kolkata since 2018, hadn’t done badly that year, leading them to four out of six wins.
Eoin Morgan’s reign as captain in the United Arab Emirates last year has been mixed as Kolkata suffered crushing losses to the Mumbai Indians and the Royal Challengers Bangalore. And seven wins and that many losses were not enough to secure them a place in the playoffs, narrowly missing them. Kolkata has retained Morgan as captain for the 2021 IPL edition and his position is under heavy scrutiny due to his form with the bat and the team’s loss of a series of games.
2021: David Warner sacked, with Kane Williamson taking over:
David Warner’s unusual form at IPL 2021 affected the SunRisers Hyderabad tremendously as he has been one of their star drummers for several years. The 57-on-55 left-handed batsman’s stroke against the Chennai Super Kings in a losing effort resulted in management sacking him as captain. Prior to that game, the SunRisers had lost four games and won only one.
Kane Williamson, who led the team to the final in 2018, has been named skipper. In Williamson’s first game as captain this year, Warner didn’t even have a place in the Eleven. With their stick even thinned out, the Rajasthan Royals convincingly beat them in Delhi and the captain only made 20 points in that.
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