The Indian Premier League(IPL) 2021 remains suspended, following an outbreak of COVID-19 cases across four franchises. It is indicated by the board officials that the tournament will resume later in the year. This gives the teams and their captains a chance to look back at their performances in the season.
Here we look at how the captains of all 8 teams fared in decision making, leadership, tactical nous in IPL 2021.
8. Eoin Morgan (Kolkata Knight Riders) 4/10
A star-studded line-up, Indian batters who have succeeded in the IPL, a finishing trio – add Pat Cummins to it as well – capable enough to destroy any bowling attack. young Indian pacers, mystery spinners, international backup all-rounders, but still, the Knight Riders found ways of losing 5 of their 7 matches.
Eoin Morgan and coach Brendon McCullum have only themselves to blame for their fate in the season hitherto. They overcomplicated their tactics – not bowling Varun Chakravarthy a second over in the powerplay against RCB after he took 2 wickets in his first – or maybe showed too much faith in their Indian youngsters.
7. David Warner (Sunrisers Hyderabad) 5/10
SRH’s standing in the points table is not completely the Australian’s doing. Warner had revealed that it was the decision of the “selectors” to drop Manish Pandey from the line-up. The same people then scrapped Warner off captaincy and dropped him from the eleven in their last match of IPL 2021.
He also missed the services of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and T Natarajan as the entire bowling department depended on Rashid Khan. The batters have been smartly playing out saving their wickets in a trade-off for runs knowing they could go after others. Jos Buttler’s innings in their last game was a prime example of this strategy.
6. K L Rahul (Punjab Kings) 6/10
KL Rahul had to deal with an imbalanced squad, leading to an eleven which either had a lack of batting depth – often earning him criticism for batting at a lower strike rate than he could – or weaker bowling options.
The skipper carried the side with his batting and with help from Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Punjab somehow managed to win 3 games keeping their playoffs hopes alive, before he sustained an injury.
5. Sanju Samson (Rajasthan Royals) 7/10
Sanju is new to IPL captaincy replacing Steve Smith. His side has done well for their 3 victories in 7 games, and just when it looked like they were getting their balance right and momentum in favour with a 55-run win over SRH, the tournament was paused.
Not only on the field, but the 26-year-old had to manage players in the dressing room as well as they kept losing one overseas player after another. But the squad rotation was not up to the mark. the batting order was also too doubtful as well.
Using Chetan Sakariya, Jaydev Unadkat with the new ball; Chris Morris, and Mustafizur Rahman in the middle and death overs; controlling things with the bat in the middle-overs have given a glimpse of Samson’s captaincy acumen in IPL 2021.
4. Rohit Sharma (Mumbai Indians) 7.5/10
There isn’t much Rohit Sharma as a captain needed to do as his players already have prior experience of a loss in their first game and then how to make a comeback. Most of the players in Mumbai Indians eleven and the squad have been with the team since 2018, and know how to handle the pressure.
The 5-time IPL winning skipper, however, deserved to applaud for backing Quinton de Kock at the top despite his failures in Chennai and Chris Lynn on the bench, who was impressive in the first game, which de Kock missed.
Eking out overs from Krunal Pandya – assisted by the return of Kieron Pollard as a bowler – and smartly using Rahul Chahar and Jayant Yadav, as MI made comeback wins, twice against SRH and KKR, Rohit once again proved why he has 5 titles in his bag.
3. Rishabh Pant (Delhi Capitals) 8/10
Being put at the helm of his franchise at the age of 23, Rishabh Pant has done exceedingly well as the Capitals sit on the top of the points table before the tournament was halted.
However, he made a few tactical errors as well. Pant kept shuffling the middle-order, especially in run-chases which meant hard-hitters like Marcus Stoinis and Shimron Hetmyer went underutilized in a few games; he didn’t complete R Ashwin’s quota against Rajasthan and instead bowled Stoinis that cost them the game.
2. M. S. Dhoni (Chennai Super Kings) 9/10
While the IPL 2020 was CSK’s worst season – they failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time – MS Dhoni has weaved his magic to make CSK a formidable title contender for the IPL 2021.
The inclusion of Moeen Ali was the piece CSK missed last year. But it was down to their skipper who employed the Englishman at number 3 in place of the returning Suresh Raina. Another major indication of Dhoni’s elite-level captaincy prowess was that CSK won 4 of their 5 games at the Wankhede.
Usage of Deepak Chahar, Dwayne Bravo, at different phases of the game were impresive. The CSK skipper controlled things well from behind the stumps.
1.Virat Kohli (Royal Challengers Bangalore) 9.5/10
For the first time since 2016, RCB has the quality and depth in their eleven and squad to challenge others for the title – otherwise, they would normally have been written off by mid-season.
With the usage of Harshal Patel at the death, faith in their big-money signing Kyle Jamieson, and utilizing Mohammed Siraj’s brilliant form, Virat Kohli, not only has bettered RCB’s pace bowling from previous seasons but has also managed to hide the disappointing campaigns both Yuzvendra Chahal and to an extent Washington Sundar have had so far.
While Kohli promoting himself at the top hasn’t done wonders so far, but liberating Glenn Maxwell from any final overs pressure, as at his previous teams, and batting him in the middle overs to tackle the spinners have helped RCB to use AB de Villiers at number 5. There are still some holes to fill in the lower-middle order and with the bowling changes for Kohli to ponder on.