“There are times when a leader must move out ahead of the flock, go off in a new direction, confident that he is leading his people the right way.” This Nelson Mandela quote fits aptly for captains in T20 cricket. Captains have to think unconventionally and against the clock to take decisions with margin of error being zero, things can go worse from better abruptly. The IPL franchises have handpicked captains who are foremost to lead. Here is a look at eight men who will be leading from the front in IPL 7:
MS Dhoni, Chennai Super Kings: ‘’Captain Cool’’ Dhoni has been leading the Chennai boys since inaugural IPL. He marvellously led his team to two successive IPL championships and one Champions League title. Dhoni has played 96 matches as a captain the most in IPL history and his win percentage is 61.05 %. Dhoni will be out again for the 7th time leading the yellow brigade.
Virat Kohli, Royal Challengers Bangalore: Sophisticated Kohli who took over Daniel Vettori as RCB captain has led his team in 26 matches. Prolific batsman has a winning percentage of 60.00% as Skipper. Just like his flawless batting he would be looking to deliver as captain in same mode. (Read: List of RCB Players Bought for IPL 7)
Kevin Pietersen, Delhi Daredevils: This will be Pietersen’s first full-fledged term as captain in IPL. In 2009 season he captained his former team RCB for a brief period of six games, RCB won only two games during his stay. (Read: List of DD Players Bought for IPL 7)
Gautam Gambhir, Kolkata Knight Riders: Gambhir is third on the list of most matches as captain with 63 matches. Before captaining KKR he led Delhi Daredevils also. Gambhir has a win percentage of 55.55% and proved a better choice for KKR as he steered his team to their only title in 2012.
Shane Watson, Rajasthan Royals: Watson is Royal’s third captain after Shane Warne and Rahul Dravid. In 2008 he had captained RR in one game and lost it. The Australian all-rounder will be looking to emulate his former teammate Shane Warne’s leadership abilities and help Royals clinch their second title. (Read: List of RR Players Bought for IPL 7)
Shikhar Dhawan, Sunrisers Hyderabad: SRH was captained by elegant Sri Lankan batsman Kumara Sangakkara in their maiden tournament. Dhawan has now been appointed as team’s captain. The left hander captaining for the first time in IPL will make sure that he doesn’t let his bosses down. (Read: List of SRH Players Bought for IPL 7)
Rohit Sharma, Mumbai Indians: Rohit was appointed as Mumbai Indians captain mid-way in 2013 season and he successfully led his team to their maiden triumph. He has a winning percentage of 76.92% in 13 matches. During his stint defending champion MI has lost only three games.
George Bailey, Kings XI Punjab: The outgoing Aussie T20 captain has been given the charge of KXIP. Bailey who will lead for the first time in IPL was chosen over Virender Sehwag perhaps the think tank at KXIP wanted Viru to be relieved of any pressure. (Read: List of KXIP Players Bought for IPL 7)
Trivia: Adam Gilchrist (Deccan Chargers, KXIP) is the only captain to have winning percentage below 50 (47.29%) among captains who have led in 50+ matches.