IPL is mostly about keeping marquee players stuck to one team so that the team can enjoy an undiminished brand value and fan support because of that particular star player. However, it is not always possible to retain those players season after season because of the combination and the money they fetch. It gets even more difficult when they fail to produce results. Over the years, teams have made plenty of changes in their top personnel. Sometimes, they even let go of their star players in order to have someone even better as the top personnel.
We take a look at 10 most popular captains who have led different teams in this competition.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni – Chennai Super Kings & Rising Pune Supergiant
There is no denying that MS Dhoni has one of the most successful captains in IPL history. His records do speak volumes of him as a captain. Dhoni with his influential leadership and cunning strategies has been a part of 104 wins as an IPL captain and even though Chennai has adopted him as it’s own, Dhoni’s all wins haven’t come captaining Chennai Super Kings.
Dhoni was the most expensive player in IPL 2008 Auction when CSK bought him and instantly made him their captain. They have won 3 IPL trophies in 2010,2011 and 2018 under his leadership but during 2016 season, Dhoni also led Rising Pune Supergiants when CSK were banned because of their owners getting involved in betting. He had a very disappointing season leading RPS as his side could manage to win only 5 out of 14 games. One more win and Dhoni would complete 100 wins for CSK.
Rahul Dravid – Royal Challengers Bangalore & Rajasthan Royals
Rahul Dravid played 6 seasons of IPL for two Royals- Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals before starting the coaching & mentoring job for the same franchise. Dravid was the first captain to lead RCB, a side which has seen a lot of captains over the years. Hailing from Bangalore, Dravid was made the marquee player & captain of RCB in the inaugural season. However, under him his side could only manage to win four out of the 14 matches due to which Kevin Pietersen was handed over the captaincy from second season.
Dravid, after playing 3 seasons for RCB was released in the auction where Rajasthan Royals decided to buy and make him their captain. He then went on to improve his record as captain as his second side won 18 and lost 16 games under him. Although, an IPL trophy still eluded both his sides. His best achievement as captain was to lead his side to Champions League final in 2013.
Gautam Gambhir – Kolkata Knight Riders & Delhi Daredevils
Gautam Gambhir was an instrumental captain. None can forget his magic for KKR purely as captain where he led them to 2 IPL trophies with his strategies and resilience. Gambhir was first given the responsibility of captaincy in 2010 when he was made the captain of a struggling Delhi Daredevils side. A Year later, KKR bought him in $2.4 million amd made him their captain only to see a change in their fortunes.
In his first year only, Gambhir led his side to Playoffs, Next year, KKR won it’s first ever IPL trophy under him. Then a miss in 2013 and another IPL trophy in their cabinet in 2014. Gambhir inspired his boys not to give up from any situation which is why KKR went on to win IPL 2014 despite losing their first 5 games. He moved back to Delhi Daredevis to play for and lead his original side but didn’t get much success this time due to which he stepped down from captaincy. In 129 games, Gambhir led his side to 71 wins and 57 losses.
Steve Smith – Pune Warriors India, Rajasthan Royals & Rising Pune Supergiant
Steve Smith first captained an IPL side back in 2012 when he was made captain of Pune Warriors India in a match against RCB which his side went on to lose by 35 runs but his real exposure to leading an IPL side came in 2017 when he took over captaincy of Rising Pune Supergiant from MS Dhoni after a terrible season. He led this side to the IPL final which they lost by one 1 run. He couldn’t play IPL 2018 for Rajasthan Royals because he was facing a ban. On his return in IPL 2019, he again took over from Ajinkya Rahane midway through the tournament.
Smith has a pretty handy captaincy record in IPL with 19 wins in 29 matches.
David Warner – SunRisers Hyderabad & Delhi Daredevils
The swashbuckling opener from Australia first fired up the IPL in 2012 season when he alongside Sehwag went bonkers at the top to take Delhi Daredevils to their first ever semi-final. Next season, he captained DD in 2 games, none of which were won by his side.
The southpaw was then bought by SRH where he first won an orange cap under the captaincy of Shikhar Dhawan. He was handed over captaincy in 2015 which was criticized by many given Warner’s lack of credentials as the skipper. He didn’t just brought a change in colors, change in playing styles but also the much needed change in fortunes. His side narrowly missed making it to playoffs in 2015 but in the next season, he led from the front to SRH’s first ever IPL victory. He last led an IPL side in 2017 before getting banned from playing in the tournament due to ball tampering. Warner has a pretty impressive IPL record as captain with 25 wins out of 47 matches.
Adam Gilchrist – Kings XI Punjab & Deccan Chargers
Australian wicket-keeping maestro Adam Gilchrist first led Deccan Chargers in the first 3 seasons and then ended his IPL gig being a captain of Kings XI Punjab. He was instrumental with his work methods and tactics as he led DC to an IPL win in 2009. Even though he lost more number of games than he won, he was the best captain a Hyderabad based franchise ever had.
Gilly then moved to Kings XI Punjab and improved his overall captaincy numbers a fair bit by winning 17 out of the 34 games but his second side never had any real success as they failed to qualify for the playoffs for either of the 3 seasons. Gilchrist retired from captain as a captain only.
Yuvraj Singh – Pune Warriors India & Kings XI Punjab
The captaincy skills of Indian middle order batting hero Yuvraj Singh was never quite exploited at International level but he did get his chances to prove his mettle as captain in IPL. Yuvi started with leading Kings XI Punjab in the first two seasons. He did have a fair bit of success without being able to win the trophy. KXIP won 17 out of 29 matches in his regime as captain.
Yuvraj was then picked to play for Pune Warriors India and was given the responsibility to lead this side. His second outing as captain in IPL didn’t prove to be fruitful as under him, the side managed only 4 wins in entire 2011 season.
Kumar Sangakkara – SunRisers Hyderabad, Deccan Chargers & Kings XI Punjab
In 2010, Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara took over the captaincy of Kings XI Punjab from Yuvraj Singh but had a horrific season in this new role. KXIP won only 3 out of 13 games. It was so embarrassing that he gave up captaincy to his best friend on field, Mahela Jayawardene in the last game.
Sanga also led Deccan Chargers and SunRisers Hyderabad, both different franchises based in same city without much success. A win percentage of just 34 after 47 games doesn’t quite describe his credentials as captain but he struggled with IPL captaincy nevertheless.
Sourav Ganguly – Kolkata Knight Riders & Pune Warriors India
One of the best captains of all time, Sourav Ganguly too has led multiple sides in IPL. His first stint as captain came for his home side as he was a marquee player of Kolkata Knight Riders. A Ganguly led KKR finished at 6th in the inaugural season with just 6 wins out of 14 games which wasn’t that bad a result comparing with how his side fared out in 2009. KKR could only manage to win 3 games. They finished the season at the last position and Ganguly was removed from captaincy.
Kolkata Knight Riders then didn’t buy Ganguly after 3rd season which angered a lot of his fans back home. Ganguly was picked to play for a new franchise Pune Warriors India. Ganguly led this side to no greater success as Pune could only manage to win 4 out of the 15 games that season. Sourav has a win % of only 40.47 as skipper in IPL.
Suresh Raina – Chennai Super Kings & Gujarat Lions
Suresh Raina probably has been the most consistent player in IPL but playing alongside Dhoni, he didn’t get too much opportunity to lead his sides in the championship. Although in the absence of Dhoni, he led CSK in few games but his serious gig at IPL captaincy came in 2016 season when he was made in charge of a new franchise Gujarat Lions which was formed only because CSK and RR were banned for two years.
In a total of 34 matches as captain, Raina’s sides have won only 14 and lost 18. Known as Mr IPL, Raina doesn’t enjoy a great record as captain. However, in his first regular season as captain he had led his side Gujarat Lions to a playoff spot. He could be the next full time captain of CSK once Dhoni retires.