Jadeja, Dhoni to Rohit: The Firing and Misfiring Captains of IPL 2022
IPL 2022 has seen 11 captains so far, here's how they've performed.
The Quint DAILY
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There are captains, and then there are leaders.
While the likes of MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma have done it for ages and it comes naturally to them, the new crop of IPL captains such as Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant, Mayank Agarwal, and Sanju Samson are learning on the job.
If there is one adage you must know about captaincy, it is this by Richie Benaud:
"Captaincy is 90% luck, only 10% skill – but don't try it without the 10%."
With this is mind, here's a look at how the captains of all 10 franchises have fared till now in IPL 2022:
Wins: 8, Losses: 2
Overall IPL win%: 80%
Hardik Pandya doesn't ever lack confidence but there were question marks about whether an apparent carefree personality like him would be able to carry a team. However, the way Pandya has strategised and taken the onus upon himself in this IPL has put paid to those doubts.
Pandya might not have been able to bowl in the last couple of matches due to a groin niggle but the way he has promoted himself up the batting order, instilled confidence in Rahul Tewatia, Wriddhiman Saha, Sai Sudharsan, David Miller and company and led by example has done his Indian captaincy prospects a world of good.
Wins: 7, Losses: 3
Overall IPL win%: 51.35
There are not many players who can score 451 runs from 10 matches at an average of 56.37 and a strike rate of 145.01 with two centuries and two half-centuries and still leave you wondering if they have underachieved.
KL Rahul is one such player who has a very high ceiling and is capable of scoring T20 centuries at a strike rate of 170 and above. This leaves you wondering sometimes whether he gets a little bogged down with responsibility as was the case during his time with Punjab Kings.
Rahul may not have had an auspicious start to his stint as India captain but the way he has packed his side with umpteen bowling options has been aggressive and impressive in equal measure.
Wins: 6, Losses: 4
Overall IPL win%: 45.83%
Sanju Samson has grown into the captaincy role from last year. While he has been tactically sound more often than not, the repeated opportunities to Riyan Parag and going in with just three overseas players have been contentious decisions.
Having said that, who wouldn't want to captain a franchise with Jos Buttler in red-hot form, Shimron Hetmyer finishing games with maturity and aplomb, Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravichandran Ashwin controlling the game with their spin and Trent Boult, Prasidh Krishna, and Kuldeep Sen breathing fire?
Faf du Plessis
Wins: 6, Losses: 5
Overall IPL win%: 54.54%
Faf du Plessis has seamlessly slipped into his IPL captaincy role and has done a fine job in his own understated manner.
Du Plessis had a lull with the bat in between but still remains Bangalore's highest run-scorer. As a former Test captain, you certainly can't question his leadership pedigree.
All in all, the former South African international appears to be in control of what he's doing.
Wins: 5, Losses: 5
Overall IPL win%: 55.76%
Don't get rattled when you see Rishabh Pant taking oddball decisions. That is part of the Pant package and his moves come off more often than you might anticipate.
The no-ball fracas aside, Rishabh Pant is a polarising captain who might please the new T20 enthusiasts but ruffle a few feathers as far as conventional cricketing wisdom goes.
While he gets full marks along with coach Ricky Ponting for instilling the much-needed confidence in Kuldeep Yadav, who has been the Player of the Match in four of Delhi's five victories, the wicketkeeper does lose out on a few points for holding back game-changer Rovman Powell in the batting order even below the likes of Lalit Yadav.
Wins: 5, Losses: 5
Overall IPL win%: 50%
The best thing you can do as captain is to win tosses and Kane Williamson is doing that for fun. With the amount of dew around and the T20 template, it becomes much easier to control the game while chasing, something which has gone in Williamson's favour time and again.
While the runs have completely dried up for the Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper, the way he stood his ground amid the initial criticism and built an Indian core from scratch is commendable.
Wins: 5, Losses: 5
Overall IPL win%: 50%
Luck is something which accompanies captaincy pedigree. On one hand, Kane Williamson can't lose the toss as much as he tries. On the other, Virat Kohli wasn't able to win a toss to save his life.
Mayank Agarwal has now lost eight out of 10 tosses in IPL 2022 which does make life very difficult as skipper. Still, he has been more or less on the button when it comes to captaincy decisions.
It's not his fault that Odean Smith couldn't deliver despite a long rope and Shahrukh Khan wasn't able to replicate his last-year heroics. Agarwal's use of all-rounder Rishi Dhawan has been heartening to see.
Wins: 4, Losses: 6
Overall IPL win%: 50.98%
Shreyas Iyer has not done a lot wrong given that he is still quite young in the role, but when two of your four retained players end up getting benched after being NPAs for the majority of the season, it certainly does not reflect well on the captain.
Iyer's use of Umesh Yadav up top and the bold decision of dropping blue-eyed pick Pat Cummins stand out.
At the same time, there have been notable errors like using Umesh Yadav at the death against Delhi Capitals, not using Sunil Narine in the slog overs on a consistent basis and making knee-jerk team changes.
Wins: 2, Losses: 6
Overall IPL win%: 25%
As Ravindra Jadeja fleetingly got the CSK captaincy, you couldn't help but feel sorry for him to be put in such a tight spot. Ideally, Chennai Super Kings should have retained Faf du Plessis and anointed him skipper to take care of the ongoing three-year cycle. But, they wanted a captain who could provide his services for a longer time and handed the armband to the next most experienced Indian CSK player after MS Dhoni.
However, Jadeja who hadn't captained at any level apart from an odd game in under-19s was clearly out of his depth. And, there's no shame in admitting that some players are not cut out of the captaincy cloth.
In the process, CSK not only missed the services of their top all-rounder but this also dented Jadeja's confidence, perhaps for the length of his playing career.
Wins: 1, Losses: 1
Overall IPL win%: 59.51
It's odd when MS Dhoni is part of a playing XI and not captaining. Natural order was restored once he took over the captaincy from Jadeja in Match 46 of IPL 2022 against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai strolled home to a 13-run victory.
The team did slip up against RCB in their next match with Dhoni in charge but he did look much more in control than Jadeja, applying the typical spin choke before the CSK batters let him down.
Wins: 1, Losses: 8
Overall IPL win%: 56.52%
The Rohit Sharma on show in IPL 2022 is not the Rohit Sharma we know. When he leads India, he is a super-confident figure, waving his hands and making field changes in his trademark Maharashtra twang.
As India's captain across formats, Rohit Sharma has hardly put a foot wrong, but he has made numerous errors in this edition of the IPL, from team selection to batting order and much more.
To name a few, Suryakumar Yadav, who is Mumbai's best batsman, simply should have batted at No 3 throughout the season with Tilak Varma following him as the likes of Dewald Brevis and Tim David needed some time to settle into their role at No 5.
Likewise, giving an extended run to the likes of Jaydev Unadkat despite repeated failures and obvious weaknesses did not reflect well on his captaincy CV.
(All stats are till Match 50 of IPL 2022)
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