IPL 2017: Australian skipper Steve Smith is undoubtedly one of the best batsmen of his generation but is yet to prove his credentials as a leader, especially in the shorter format of the game.
The Indian Premier League is to set to begin in less than two week’s time and the fans will once again get to witness finest talents from all across the globe. In T20 cricket, a leader makes as much difference as his players do. As a captain, you have to take quick decisions and be flexible in your approach. After all, it was Shane Warne’s leadership that made Rajasthan Royals champions in the first season and helped Adam Gilchrist to lift the trophy in the 2nd season despite Deccan Chargers finishing last in season 1. So, where do all the captains stand before the start of this season? What can we expect from them? Let’s find out:
1. Virat Kohli (9/10)
The Indian cricket team’s captain had an inhuman season last year where he scored 973 runs in 16 matches at an average of 81.08 and strike-rate of 152.03 including 4 centuries. This season Bangalore have strengthened the side by adding the likes of Tymal Mills and Pawan Negi to the team and would be hoping to lift the trophy that has evaded them for last nine years.
2. David Warner (9/10)
David Warner as captain was a complete surprise package in previous season scoring 848 runs in 17 matches and almost single-handedly made his side champions. He has a very squad in Surisers Hyderabad that has added Afghan players Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan to the roster along with English fast bowler Chris Jordan.
3. Rohit Sharma (8.5/10)
The Indian opener has missed a lot of cricket in last six months and would be rearing to go in the IPL. He has a very strong side to his helm and if uses his resources smartly, can clinch the title. Mitchell Johnson and Karn Sharma were the two big signings of this season and the task in hand for Rohit Sharma will be to find the right combination.
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4. Gautam Gambhir (8.5/10)
The KKR captain might have been completely ignored by the Indian selectors but when it comes to the IPL, he is still one of the hottest properties. Gambhir is consistent, aggressive, leads from the front and his opening partnership with Robin Uthappa will decide the fate of Knight Riders. The challenge for Gambhir will be to find the replacement for West Indian all-rounder Andre Russell who was banned last month.
5. Suresh Raina (8/10)
The Gujarat Lions captain is one of the stars of IPL who have literally owned the league. Raina didn’t miss a single game in IPL till last year when he went to Netherlands for his child’s birth. He has a very strong side to lead but may face a problem of plenty like last year. If Raina is able to get the right combination early, he can guide the team to a title victory.
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6. Steve Smith (7/10)
The Australian skipper is undoubtedly one of the best batsmen of his generation but is yet to prove his credentials as a leader, especially in the shorter format of the game. Moreover, he has a depleted side that needs a lot of make over. Good thing for Steve Smith is that he will have the support of former Indian captain MS Dhoni who has mastered the act of winning in IPL.
7. Zaheer Khan (6.5/10)
The former Indian fast bowler had no experience of leading the side at the highest level was given the responsibility of the Delhi Daredevils management. Even though he was highly impressive with his field placements and out of the box thinking, that final punch was missing. Question mark over Zaheer’s fitness is another reason why he has been placed so low.
8. Glenn Maxwell (6/10)
Kings XI Punjab has taken some disastrous decisions over the years and appointing Glenn Maxwell certainly falls in that bracket. He has no prior experience of leading a team at this level, was dropped from the playing XI last season and has been out of the national side for a while too. Unless Maxwell pulls a rabbit out of the hat, the Kings XI Punjab is likely to have another disappointing year.