On Saturday, Chennai Superkings made a massive change, replacing Ravindra Jadeja with the old guard MS Dhoni himself. Changing captains in IPL is not new. When the odds are that high, you don’t want to take a chance even if it’s your icon-the captain. After Chennai’s poor run, which saw them sitting firm at eighth position in a ten-team affair, Jadeja himself stepped down. However, the pressure from the management, who are running a business, will never be known. We take a look at 13 previous occasions where the beast called IPL claimed captaincy careers.
IPL 2008(Deccan Chargers): Adam Gilchrist Takes Over from VVS Laxman: The inaugural season of IPL saw Hyderabad franchise losing 12 games out of 14! They had a star-studded batting lineup in Shahid Afridi, Andrew Symmonds, Herschelle Gibbs and yet they failed to close games. Such was the distrust in the side that Afridi said that Laxman’s persona doesn’t match the razmataz of T20 cricket. The management took note and the elegant right hander made way for Aussie opener. The results followed the very next year as Deccan Chargers went on to win the IPL.
IPL 2009(Royal Challengers Bangalore): Anil Kumble Takes Over from Kevin Pietersen: Money can’t buy you success and RCB learnt it the hard way. That subsequent year, Kevin Pietersen was the costliest player at the auctions for INR 1.55 Million; he becoming captain wasn’t a surprise. Even his personality vis-à-vis Anil Kumble, who would succeed him, was much more suited to the shortest format of the game. But then IPL is a beast! Under KP, RCB went onto lose four of the first five games. Vijay Mallya, who was the team owner, was not known to keep his patience and he acted, removing Pietersen in a jiffy. Following the change, the team went onto reach the final, winning 8 out of 10 games. Unfortunately, they lost to Deccan Chargers.
IPL 2012 (Royal Challengers Bangalore): Virat Kohli Takes Over from Daniel Vettori: The Kiwi spinner led RCB to the final in 2011, but the next year they managed to notch up just two wins in their first five games. Virat Kohli was named captain but only on an ad-hoc basis. The youngster showed intent and RCB finished at fifth position which paved the way for him to be named RCB’s full-time skipper in 2013. Although the results didn’t come instantly, with captain Kohli’s best coming in 2016 when the team reached the final.
IPL 2012 (Deccan Chargers): Cameron White Takes Over from Kumar Sangakkara: Kumar Sangakkara literally dropped himself from the playing eleven as they had a worst possible start to the campaign, losing five games on the trot. The sixth game was abandoned due to rain. It was a proactive decision and a brave one to hand over the captaincy to the then 29-year old Aussie all-rounder. Although, the decision made no impact with Chargers losing five out of next eight games as they got the wooden spoon.
IPL 2013(Mumbai Indians): Rohit Sharma Takes Over from Ricky Ponting: This was the first time that captain Rohit came to the fore and dethroned one of the best in business, Ricky Ponting. The team had won just one out of first five games. Then came on Rohit and Mumbai somehow managed to enter the final only to win the trophy. It was a miraculous turnaround, studied and looked at again and again. It was also the beginning of something special as Mumbai would went onto build a legacy under Rohit.
IPL 2013(Pune Warriors India): Angelo Matthews Steps Down, Aaron Finch Takes Over: Pune Warriors India never quite had a great season in IPL since their inception in 2011. They played for three years before pulling out in 2014. Meanwhile in 2013 also the team had a worst possible start, winning just one match in first five games after which Aaron Finch took over. It didn’t help at all and they ended up as runners up from the bottom! Ending up winning 4 out of 16 matches.
IPL 2014 (Sunrisers Hyderabad): Shikhar Dhawan Steps Down, Darren Sammy Takes Over: Under Dhawan, not only SRH were struggling, the skipper himself was struggling with the bat. The Orange Army managed to win just two games in the first four games after which West Indies’ Darren Sammy was named the captain. However, it didn’t change anything and the team failed to reach the playoffs which led to the search of a new skipper which ended with David Warner.
IPL 2015(Rajasthan Royals): Shane Watson Hands Over Captaincy to Steve Smith: It wasn’t like that the team wasn’t doing well under Watson. They had managed to win 6 out of ten games with two being abandoned and one being a tie! But Watson chose to step down as he wanted to focus more on his individual skills. It was a top-four finish for the Royals eventually, but they couldn’t reach the final.
IPL 2016(Kings XI Punjab): David Miller Steps Down For Murali Vijay: Punjab were languishing at the bottom of the table with just two points which forced the management to replace the skipper. Miller himself had a tough time scoring just 76 runs in six innings even though his strike-rate was 129. Vijay, on the other hand, was among the runs. He had notched up 143 runs in six innings, but his captaincy career failed to take off wit the team finishing at the bottom.
IPL 2018 (Delhi Capitals): Gautam Gambhir Steps Down, Shreyas Iyer Takes Over: Gambhir came into the set up after lifting the IPL trophies twice for Kolkata Knight Riders(2012, 2014). That pressure was always there and he failed to live upto it. Delhi won just one out of first six games, and then Iyer took over with Delhi winning four out of next eight. The decision remained inconsequential.
IPL 2019 (Rajasthan Royals): Steve Smith Takes Over from Ajinkya Rahane: Rajasthan Royals were forced to make a change at the top after they managed to win just a couple from eight games under Rahane. The skipper had stepped down owing to the responsibility of those losses. But despite Steve Smith taking over, the team finished at second last position winning five off 14 games.
IPL 2020 (Kolkata Knight Riders): Dinesh Karthik Hands Over Captaincy to Eoin Morgan: In an interesting decision, DK stepped down despite KKR winning four of the first seven games. The runs had dried up and he wanted to focus on his batting. Morgan took over against Mumbai Indians in Abu Dhabi, but it was later next year(2021) that his captaincy made an impact. As far as 2020 was concerned, KKR finished at fifth, winning seven and losing seven.
IPL 2021(Sunrisers Hyderabad): David Warner Hands Over Captaincy to Kane Williamson: It was the worst possible start for Hyderabad in IPL 2021 with the team winning just one out of first seven games. Warner eventually had a fallout with the management and he made way for Williamson which made no impact at all as the team finished at the bottom. Warner was even dropped from playing eleven in the aftermath with he cheering from the stands!