The next season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is all set to begin from the 29th of March 2020. Ambani owned Mumbai Indians are the defending champions, having won the previous edition by one run against Chennai Super Kings. Both sides will also open the thirteenth edition of the successful T20 league by playing off against each other at the Wankhede Stadium.
A lot of changes have been made this year not only players but a few captains have also been changed. Team management have decided to change the captains because of poor performance in the last editions. The new captains have been announced just a month before the first match is to take place.
Rohit Sharma – Mumbai Indians
Rohit Sharma who is recovering from a calf injury he suffered during the T20I series against New Zealand is expected to be fit to lead the Mumbai Indians. The Mumbai hit machine is the most successful captain in the IPL tournament history, having won four titles in six years as captain.
It all began in 2013 when Ricky Ponting recused himself to promote Rohit as the skipper that proved to be a masterstroke for Mumbai Indians. The 32-year old is also the third-highest run-scorer in the history of the league with 4898 runs, sitting behind Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina. As a captain, the flamboyant batsman has won 62 out of the 103 matches.
KL Rahul – Kings XI Punjab
After Ravichandran Ashwin’s transfer to Delhi Capitals for the upcoming edition, Kings XI Punjab chose to give the captaincy duties to KL Rahul. He has become one of the most important players in the Indian team in white-ball cricket currently and has also captained in the final T20I between New Zealand and India in Mount Maunganui.
His actions behind the stumps were largely appreciated as he assisted Kohli with several DRS decisions. It would be the first time that he will be the captain of an IPL team and with Anil Kumble as the head coach, one can expect Punjab to reach all the way to the finals. In addition, players like Sheldon Cottrell, Glenn Maxwell, and James Neesham overwhelmingly boost their chances of an IPL win. The Karnataka boy was also in sensational touch in the last season, having scored 593 runs in 14 fixtures.
Virat Kohli – Royal Challengers Bangalore
The most underperforming team in the history of IPL, Royal Challengers Bangalore have never won the trophy despite some of the biggest names in their team. The likes of Virat Kohli, Ab de Villiers, Moeen Ali, and Marcus Stoinis didn’t prove to be enough in the previous season as they finished last. Kohli, as a captain, has been clueless for the most part as well. Yet, he is the leading run-scorer in the history of the league with 5412 runs.
Ahead of the 2020 season, the management has decided to stick with Kohli as the leader along with purchasing players like Aaron Finch, Chris Morris, Isuru Udana, Josh Philippe, and Kane Richardson. One can only hope that this set of players can help Bangalore break the jinx they are going through.
David Warner – Sunrisers Hyderabad
One of the biggest news that followed in the Hyderabad camp is the reappointment of David Warner as captain, replacing Kane Williamson. Arguably, Warner is one of the best and the most aggressive leaders under whom, Sunrisers lifted their trophy in 2016. The southpaw has been trusted by the management to bring the title once again home. The New South Wales-born has won 26 out of 47 games he has captained in.
He did not play in IPL 2018 due to being a part of the infamous ball-tampering scandal. However, it didn’t stop him from bagging the Orange Cap in 2019. He was the best batsmen of the tournament by a mile, amassing 692 runs in only 11 games. The Orange jersey finished fourth in 2019 and would be hoping to end two steps ahead in the forthcoming season.
Dinesh Karthik – Kolkata Knight Riders
Kolkata Knight Riders have decided to retain Dinesh Karthik as the captain despite underperforming last season. In 2018, when Karthik captained them for the first time, he got them a place in the playoffs. However, they only won six out of their 14 games in 2019 despite having a well-balanced squad. In terms of their batting order, they were over-reliant on Andre Russell, who often bailed them out of distressed situations.
The two-time champions were also one of the most active franchises in the auction that took place in December 2019. They have roped in the likes of Pat Cummins, Eoin Morgan, Tom Banton, and Chris Green which makes them one of the most fearsome outfits.
Steve Smith – Rajasthan Royals
Rajasthan’s last season did not go well, the management decided to hand over the captaincy duties to Steve Smith from Ajinkya Rahane midway. The former Australian captain did a decent job, making the franchise win three out of five games. But it wasn’t enough to take them to the playoffs. And predictably, Smith would return this year to lead Rajasthan right from the outset. He also has an imposing record as a captain, having won 19 out of 28 matches.
Rajasthan could have a mountain to climb in the upcoming season. Apart from making questionable buys in the auction, they are also waiting to find out if Jofra Archer would be available for them as he is nursing an injury. Hence, the likes of Jos Buttler, Steve Smith, Ajinkya Rahane, Ben Stokes, and Shreyas Gopal could have the bulk of work to do.
MS Dhoni – Chennai Super Kings
MS Dhoni is one of the most decorated captains and player ever since the first season of the IPL. The 38-year old will begin to train for the tournament from the 2nd of March to bond with the new set of players. Under his leadership, the yellow army has won three IPL titles, including two consecutive times in 2010 and 2011.
Since 2008, Chennai has made it to the playoffs in all the seasons they have taken part in and finished as runners-up on five occasions. The 38-year old has won 104 matches in 170 as the skipper. He will feature in his first competitive game since the 2019 World Cup in July.
Shreyas Iyer – Delhi Capitals
Shreyas Iyer became the captain of Delhi-based franchise in the mid-2018 season when Gautam Gambhir stepped down, owing to poor form. While that season didn’t go their way, Delhi Capitals made significant progress under him in the previous season. Delhi made it to the playoffs for the first time in as many years with the help of some young guns in the squad.
Even with the bat, the 25-year old reigned supreme, mustering 467 runs in 16 games. Though Delhi faced elimination in the playoffs, it signaled that the team was moving in the right direction under him. Additionally, due to his comeback in the national team, one can expect him to launch more fireworks in the upcoming season. Spending time with the likes of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma would have helped him with the captaincy as well.