The excitement is steadily building up for the much-awaited Indian T20 Premier League. With all the matches set to be played in India, especially in historically-rich Mumbai, and 25 percent of fans allowed to throng the stadiums, the fantasy cricket loversare licking their fingers for the action to begin.
The captain is the most important player in the team’s success. To help you choose a wise captain, we give you a lowdown on the top five leaders that are likely to create the magic.
MS Dhoni: The second-most successful captain in the Indian T20 Premier League, MS Dhoni will have to smartly marshal his troops. Although the core group of Chennai remains the same, it will be interesting to see how the influx of young guns like pacer Tushar Deshpande will be used by captain cool in retaining the title. Dhoni’s still go-to man is likely to be Dwayne Bravo and has an array of finishers this time.
Rohit Sharma: He is the Indian T20 Premier League’s most successful captain with five titles under his belt for Mumbai. However, Rohit’s biggest challenge will be to strategise his plans with an almost new-look middle order. With no Hardik Pandya and Krunal Pandya, it remains to be seen who will do the job for him in their absence. It will be interesting to see what role Rohit assigns to a raw talent like South African Dewald Brevis, touted as Baby ABD, and Singapore’s Tim David, on whom they splurged Rs 8.5 crore in the auction.
Shreyas Iyer: He had an amazing run leading Delhi to the final of the 2020 edition of the Indian T20 Premier League. However, when Shreyas Iyer returned after injury in the midway of the tournament next year, the captaincy baton was handed over to Rishabh Pant. Shreyas will once again wear the captain’s cap this time with Kolkata. Leading from the front with example is his style. Hopefully, this will help Kolkata win their third title this time.
KL Rahul: He was impressive in his first stint as captain for Punjab in the last IPL. He led from the front and the extra responsibility brought a more matured approach in his batting. A lot will ride off KL Rahul’s shoulders in terms of setting the culture with Lucknow, the newest team in the tournament. They have covered all bases, it is now up to Rahul to manoeuvre astutely.
Hardik Pandya: All eyes will be on the Ahmedabad skipper. It is not just his form as he returns to action after a long injury layoff, how Pandya manages his players will also be closely watched. Pandya, who has played. A lot under MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma is likely to bring out a mixture of this trio in his first-ever stint as captain. Even before the tournament begins, Pandya’s biggest challenge is finding an able opener in place of Jason Roy, who pulled out at the last minute. Challenges are galore but trust him to only revel in the added responsibility. Pandya is likely to lay a lot of thrust on specific roles to his key players.
Rishabh Pant: Delhi has reposed a lot of faith on the prolific wicketkeeper-batsman to steer them to a maiden title. With Pant in terrific form, success at Delhi could also pave way for him to lead Team India one day. Pant hardly let’s loose his emotions. Even in crunch situations, Pant has displayed zen-like calmness. He has also been impressive with bowling changes and field placements. His tactical acumen is yet to come to the fore. The extra responsibility of captaincy also tends to bring out a more mature side of his game.