5 foreign captains who proved IPL was not all about MS Dhoni Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli
Indian Premier League (IPL), over the years, has become one of the most successful sporting leagues across the globe. With its glitzy and glamorous action and nail-biting encounters, the cash-rich league has become an indispensable part of the cricket calendar.
Like any major sporting tournament, superstar sportspersons have contributed to the popularity of the IPL. Strong leaders, impact players and promising youngsters have all shone over the last 12 years of the T20 tournament.
When it comes to captaincy, MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma are the two biggest names. With 7 titles between them, Dhoni and Rohit have been two of the most celebrated leaders in the IPL. On the other hand, Virat Kohli, despite his inability to win a title, has been cherished by fans at Royal Challengers Bangalore.
However, IPL was not all about the Dhonis, Rohits and the Kohlis. There were some influential leaders from overseas who made an ever-lasting impact in the T20 league.
Indiatoday.in looks at 5 overseas captains who found quite a lot of success and are being cherished by fans of the IPL.
Shane Warne, the legendary leg-spinner, came as a blessing for the Rajasthan Royals. In the inaugural edition of the IPL in 2008, not many gave a chance to the Royals but it was Warne’s leadership that lit up the season and provided a perfect start to the league.
Shane Warne led a relatively inexperienced unit in IPL 2008. However, the Australian great got the best out of the players he had. Yusuf Pathan, who had just made his international debut for India, was one of the star performers of the season as he won 5 Man of the Match awards. Shane Watson blossomed into a consistent performer under his former Australia teammate.
The likes of Swapnil Asnodkar and Siddharth Trivedi who were unknown quantities at the IPL shone under Warner’s captaincy.
Warne also stepped up and took 18 wickets in IPL 2008 and helped the Royals to glory. Warne is still among the most successful captains in the history of the IPL with a success rate of 55.45 percentage — 30 wins in 55 matches.
Warne led the team from 2008 to 2011 and the impact he had at the Royals was so much so that he was appointed as their mentor when the team returned from the 2-year suspension.
Courtesy by BCCI
Not many overseas players get the love and adulation that David Warner gets from the Hyderabad fans. They in fact address him ‘Warner gaaru’ which symbolises the respect Warner gets in that part of the country.
After spending a couple of seasons with the Delhi Daredevils, David Warner joined the Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2013. He was made the captain of the franchise in 2015.
Under Tom Moody’s tenure as the coach, Warner led SRH to glory in IPL 2016 wherein the Hyderabad-based franchise defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore in the final. Warner stood out with the bat in the season, scoring 848 runs at an average of 60 and strike rate of over 150.
It was not surprising that Warner was received with a hearty welcome when he returned to play for SRH after his one-year ball-tampering ban.
Warner revealed that the support and adulation he got at SRH after his return from the ball-tampering ban meant a great deal to him and his family who underwent a tumultuous time after the Cape Town episode that brought disrepute to Australian cricket.
“From Delhi, I moved to Hyderabad. This is my second home and to come back here to open arms and to be greeted by the fans, some of the passionate and kind words, it means a lot to my family and myself,” Warner said.
In the lead up to the 2020 IPL season, Sunrisers announced Warner as their captain.
Adam Gilchrist is one of the most celebrated Australian cricketers across the globe. Even before Gilchrist came to the IPL, he had a legion of fans in India.
Nonetheless, the IPL only added to his celebrity status. Gilchrist took over from VVS Laxman in IPL 2009 and led the Deccan Chargers to glory. From wooden spooners in the 1st season, the Chargers won the IPL that was held in South Africa.
Gilchrist brought the best out of the likes of T Suman, Rohit Sharma and Venugopal Rao as the Chargers turned out to be a champion team with a good mix of local and foreign talents.
Gilchrist had to move to Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2011 and captained the side for 3 years. Despite not being able to recreate the Deccan Chargers magic, Gilchrist came up with some stunning performances at Punjab.
Gilchrist brought an end to his IPL career in a spectacular manner as he got his only wicket in competitive cricket in his final outing for Kings XI Punjab.
Courtesy by BCCI
Kane Williamson took over from David Warner in IPL 2018 and 2019 as the Sunrisers Hyderabad captain. The New Zealand skipper made sure all the good work done by Warner was carried forward in the 2 seasons.
Under Kane Williamson, Sunrisers Hyderabad thrived as a team who were known for their never-say-die-attitude. In IPL 2018, SRH were a well-oiled machine who defended whatever their batters were able to post.
Under Williamson, SRH dominated the league table in 2018 with 18 points and reached the final only to lose to Chennai Super Kings who were brilliant on the big day.
Sunrisers reached the play-offs under Williamson in 2019 as well but their journey came to an end well before the finals. The Sunrisers looked a cheerful unit throughout and the David Warner-Jonny Bairstow partnership flourished at the top of the order.
Nonetheless, Kane Williamson played an important role for the Sunrisers Hyderabad when David Warner was away and not playing as captain.
Steve Smith proved his prowess as a captain in the T20 format in the IPL in 2017 when he led Rising Pune Supergiant to the finals.
There was immense pressure on him as he replaced MS Dhoni as the captain before the start of the IPL 2017 season. However, Smith kept his calm and composure and focussed on the job in hand. Leading a side that had superstars, including MS Dhoni, Ajinkya Rahane and R Ashwin, Smith shone as a leader at the RPS.
Smith was appointed the captain of Rajasthan Royals midway during IPL 2019 after Ajinkya Rahane stepped down from the role. The Australia batsman, who had just returned from his ball-tampering ban, took up the challenge and proved his worth.
In fact, Smith has the best winning percentage (67.85) in the IPL when it comes to captains with a minimum of 25 matches under their belt.
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