IPL 2013: The struggles of overseas captains Ponting, Sangakkara, Gilchrist and Matthews

Captains who took the tough calls of axing themselves… (From left) Ricky Ponting, Kumar Sangakkara, Adam Gilchrist and Angelo Mathews © IANS and Getty Images

Nishad Pai Vaidya discusses the travails of the foreign captains at the Indian Premier League (IPL), 2013.

The Indian Premier League (IPL), 2013 has been a bumpy ride for the overseas captains. The tournament started off with five foreigners at the helm and halfway through the season, four have already relegated themselves to the bench at some point. It is an eye-opener for the franchises as having a foreign captain is fraught with risks — it severely restricts their options while picking the four overseas stars, and that in-turn affects the balance.

Here is a look at the captains who took the tough calls of axing themselves from the eleven in the ongoing IPL:

Ricky Ponting:

In the aftermath of his international retirement, Ponting seemed to enjoy his cricket. He had a good domestic season in Australia, which included the Big Bash League (BBL). Mumbai Indians bagged him at the auction as they wanted a stable opening option and a tactical leader. While Ponting was fantastic in the field and innovative with his captaincy, he struggled with the bat. In six games, he scored just 52 runs at an average of 10.40 with a miserable 69.33 strike-rate.

6 52 10.4 69.33 28

With the pressure on him, Ponting handed over the reins of leadership to Rohit Sharma — who has done well so far with three victories in four games.

Adam Gilchrist:

Gilchrist is an inspirational figure whose mere presence boosts the side’s morale. However, inspiration isn’t always enough and a leader has to tangibly contribute to his side. At the age of 41, Gilchrist is way past his sell-by date. Prior to the ongoing edition, his previous stint in the middle was during IPL 2012 and the time away from the field has done him no good. He wasn’t able to get Kings XI Punjab off to good starts and fell early on most occasions.

8 94 11.75 106.81 27

When it looked like Gilchrist was showing some signs of form, he dropped himself in favour of Shaun Marsh — who has done well in previous editions of the IPL.

Angelo Mathews:

Michael Clarke was set to lead Pune Warriors India at the IPL 2013, until an injury ruled him out. Pune then made the surprising choice of appointing the Sri Lankan Mathews at the helm. They have numerous quality international stars in their ranks and Mathews seemed an outside candidate for the job. The all-rounder failed to make a mark in the tournament and Pune’s woes spilled into another season.

M R Ave SR HS W Bowl.Ave
5 52 17.33 98.11 20 1 113

Mathews couldn’t play the game at Chennai and Ross Taylor led the team there. Once he returned, Taylor had to make way. Finally, they zeroed in on the in-form Aaron Finch — so that they can field their best possible combination. Interestingly, Finch wasn’t even a part of the original squad and only came in after Clarke’s injury.

Kumar Sangakkara:

Sunrisers Hyderabad have a wafer-thin batting line-up and that made Sangakkara’s decision to sit out very surprising. The supposed reasoning behind the decision was to give Quinton de Kock a run in the side ahead of Hyderabad’s game at Chennai. Although Sangakkara has struggled for runs in IPL 2013, he is by far the best batsman to anchor a fragile batting.

7 109 15.57 96.46 28

Sangakkara returned after Hyderabad played their game at Chennai. Shikhar Dhawan has also recovered from injury and is in great form. These are good signs for Hyderabad going ahead in the tournament.

Ponting, Gilchrist and Mathews may not play any further part in the tournament, but they would provide their sides with valuable inputs. Meanwhile, Sangakkara would be itching to turn things around and take Hyderabad to greater heights. His Sri Lankan teammate, Mahela Jayawardene has had a mixed season and remains the only overseas captain to play all the games.

Come IPL 2014, teams would think twice before handing the responsibility to an overseas star. An Indian captain is always a safer bet. 

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and an analyst, anchor and voice-over artist for the site’s YouTube Channel. He shot to fame by spotting a wrong replay during IPL4 which resulted in Sachin Tendulkar’s dismissal. His insights on the game have come in for high praise from cerebral former cricketers. He has also participated on live TV talk-shows on cricket. Nishad can be followed on Twitter athttp://twitter.com/nishad_44)