IPL teams with most number of captains
Eight captains of Delhi Daredevils from IPL 2008 - 2015 (from clockwise, top left): Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, James Hopes, Mahela Jayawardene, Dinesh Karthik, Kevin Pietersen, David Warner and JP Duminy

Leadership definitely plays a vital role in Twenty20 cricket and haven’t we witnessed that in the Indian Premier League (IPL)? Usually teams that have retained the core and have had stable captains have gone on to perform well in the tournament. The best example is Chennai Super Kings (CSK), the most successful IPL team till date. They have reached the qualifiers in every season, twice ending as the champions and thrice runners-up. Mahendra Singh Dhoni has led them in all of them.

Suvajit Mustafi presents a list of teams that had the most number of captains in the IPL.


1:  Delhi Daredevils (8)

The Delhi side has been captained by most players till date. In eight seasons, they have seen eight different men lead them. They have ended in the top four three times, but in the last two seasons they have ended at the bottom of the table.


A:  VirenderSehwag – India (2008, 2009 and 2011): 

He was Delhi’s icon player and skipper in the first edition in 2008. He led the side to the top-four stage and even in 2009, did the same. Sehwag took up the captaincy again in 2011, but this time the side ended at the bottom of the table. A year later, Sehwag led them well to finish up as table toppers but once again finished in the top four. In fact, Sehwag has led DD in 52 matches, the most by any player.


B:  Gautam Gambhir – India (2009 and 2010):

He first led the side in South Africa in 2009 and later in 2010, he was handled the side’s captaincy. The team ended in fifth position and missed the top-four berth.


C:  Dinesh Karthik– India (2010 and 2014): 

He first captained for a couple of games in 2010 and later in 2014 in absence of Kevin Pietersen. He has led DD in six games, winning only two of them.


D:  James Hopes – Australia (2011): 

In the absence of Sehwag in 2011, Hopes led in three games, but couldn’t manage a win.


E:  Mahela Jayawardene – Sri Lanka (2013): 

He was appointed the skipper in the 2013 season and it ended terribly for DD as they ended at the bottom of the table.


F:  David Warner – Australia (2013): 

He led in two of the games in the sixth edition of the tournament, but couldn’t win a single one.


G:  Kevin Pietersen – England (2014): 

The English dasher too couldn’t revive the fortunes of the DD side, as once again they ended at the bottom of the table.


H:  JP Duminy – South Africa (2015): 

He was the highest run-getter in the 2014 edition and was rewarded for the same. He was named the captain for the 2015 edition where DD wears a new side.


2:  Pune Warriors India (6)

They just participated in three IPLs and have seen six captains in all. Pune, too have been one of the lesser successful sides in the IPL. The defunct franchise was led by:


A:  Yuvraj Singh – India (2011): 

Was appointed the captain in their inaugural season in 2011, the same year he became the World Cup man-of-the-tournament.


B:  Sourav Ganguly – India (2012): 

Ganguly was handed the captaincy after Yuvraj Singh was declared unavailable, as he was battling cancer. The franchise revived his career, the year back after he was discarded by Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). The side started off well but then began a string of close loses. They finished last. That year, Ganguly retired from cricket.


C: Steve Smith – Australia (2012):

Led in Ganguly’s absence.


D:  Angelo Mathews – Sri Lanka (2013): 

Was named the skipper in absence of Michael Clarke, who was unavailable due to injury. He was sacked midway owing to side’s poor performance.


E:  Ross Taylor – New Zealand (2013): 

Led in one game, lost that and was removed from captaincy.


F:  Aaron Finch – Australia (2013): 

Was named the captain for rest of the tournament. He led them in 10 games but couldn’t change the fortunes. Pune finished second last this time and it was their last appearance in the IPL.

3:  Kings XI Punjab (6)

Though Punjab began well in the first edition of the IPL, things really didn’t work for them in the seasons that followed. Despite of lot of reshuffling and change of captaincy, the results didn’t come good. They made some great buys in 2014 and put up a strong team in that season, which saw them end runners-up. They are now one of the strongest sides in the competition.


A:  Yuvraj Singh – India (2008): 

Led the side in the inaugural edition. He was the icon player of the team. They finished in the top four.


B:  Kumar Sangakkara – Sri Lanka (2009): 

Led in the second season in South Africa, they couldn’t make it to the semis this time.


C:  Mahela Jayawardene – Sri Lanka (2010): 

Managed some memorable wins but overall they fared quite ordinarily, ending up in the last position.


D:  Adam Gilchrist – Australia (2011, 2012 and 2013):

They reshuffled the side and got the Australian legend to captain it. Gilchrist had won the IPL with Deccan Chargers in 2009 and was thought to be the right man to lead this side. He got them close to a play-off berth and the side finished fifth in 2011. In 2012, they finished sixth and the following year they again failed to make it to the play-off.


E:  David Hussey – Australia (2012 and 2013): 

Led in Gilchrist’s absence in 12 matches in 2012 and 2013.


F:  George Bailey – Australia (2014 and 2015): 

The current captain and leader of a strong and settled side. He led to the final in the last season and they are yet again strong title contenders this time.


4:  Mumbai Indians (6)

Mumbai Indians have been one of the successful sides in the IPL. Just like their huge and illustrious list of support staff, they have seen a lot of leaders, but that’s largely due to unavailability of regular captains due to injury. The side is currently led by Indian star cricketer Rohit Sharma.


A:  Sachin Tendulkar – India (2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011): 

Tendulkar was the icon player and the original leader of the side in the inaugural edition. In his absence others led the team. While MI didn’t qualify to the play-offs in the first two seasons, they ended up runners-up in the 2010 and top four in 2011.Two years after retirement, he is an integral part of the side as a mentor.


B:  Harbhajan Singh – India (2008 and 2012): 

Led in Tendulkar’s absence in the inaugural edition and later was appointed the skipper in 2012 after the team won Champions League Twenty20 under him in 2011. In 2012, they finished fourth in the table and got knocked-out in the eliminator.


C:  Shaun Pollock – South Africa (2008): 

With Tendulkar injured and Harbhajan suspended after the infamous slap-gate, Pollock led the side during tough times and guided them back to some much needed wins.


D:  Dwayne Bravo – West Indies (2010): 

Led a match in absence of Tendulkar.


E:  Ricky Ponting– Australia (2013): 

The Australian legend was named the skipper of the side but due to a slump in batting form, he couldn’t find regular places in the XI. He led in six games and later in 2015, returned to the side as Head coach.


F:  Rohit Sharma – India (2013, 2014 and 2015): 

He was named the captain in Ponting’s absence in 2013 and led MI to their maiden IPL title. The same year, he also led them to CLT20 win, becoming the first side to win it twice. In 2014, MI finished in top four and under Rohit, the side has done pretty well and are amongst one of the favourites this time.

5:  Sunrisers Hyderabad (5)

It’s their third season and the side that made it to the play-offs in their maiden appearance have already seen five skippers. They are currently led by David Warner and are still figuring out the right combination.


A:  Kumar Sangakkara– Sri Lanka (2013): 

The Sri Lankan legend led the side in the first nine games and later sat out due to a slump in form.


B:  Cameron White – Australia (2013): 

He led them in seven matches that included the play-offs.


C:  Shikhar Dhawan – India (2014): 

The Indian opener led the side in the subsequent season but was replaced midway owing to form issues and also because the side wasn’t performing up to the mark.


D:  Darren Sammy – West Indies (2014): 

The West Indian all-rounder replaced Dhawan and led the side in the remainder of the tournament.


E:  David Warner – Australia (2015): 

The explosive Australian cricketer is named the new skipper for SRH in the current season. Lost his first game against CSK and only time will tell how he adapts to this new role.


6:  Royal Challenger Bangalore (5)

The team from Bangalore have been one of the strongest over the years but however they haven’t really able to translate their on-paper form into consistent performance. The side is currently led by the Indian Test skipper ViratKohli, who has been groomed by the franchise right since the first season. They began their campaign with a win and are one of the favourites this time.


A:  Rahul Dravid (2008): 

He was the icon player and led the side in the first edition. They didn’t do well under him and finished second last in the first season.


B:  Kevin Pietersen (2009): 

He was a big signing and fetched US$ 1.55 million. He was named the captain but he left midway for national duty.
C:  Anil Kumble (2009 and 2010): 

Kumble replaced Pietersen and turned around the fortune for RCB. He led brilliantly to guide as the side ended runners-up in 2009. Even in the following year, he led the team to a top-four finish. He led the side to the CLT20 semis and then retired.


D:  Daniel Vettori (2011 and 2012):

Vettori took the captaincy reigns and led the side to the final. Unfortunately, they lost to CSK in the final. Vettori also captained in the next season but later benched himself to allow MuttiahMuralitharan, a spot in the playing XI. Having retired from cricket, Vettori now serves as the Head coach of the side.


E:  Virat Kohli (2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015):

Kohli took over after Vettori benched himself. Kohli has been the skipper since 2012 and the side has failed to make it to the play-offs since them. They finished fifth in 2012 and 2013, and in 2014, they finished second last.


7:  Deccan Chargers (4)

Deccan Chargers won the title in 2009 and participated in the first five seasons. They were led by four captains overall.


A:  VVS Laxman (2008): 

He was an icon player and led the first six matches before suffering an injury.


B:  Adam Gilchrsit (2009 and 2010): 

After Laxman’s injury, Gilchrist was appointed the skipper. The first season didn’t go well but DC came back strong in the second and lifted the title. In 2010, they didn’t qualify for the play-offs.


C:  Kumar Sangakkara (2011 and 2012): 

The finished in the seventh position in 2011, above Kochi Tuskers Kerala, Pune Warriors and Delhi Daredevils. In the following year, they were at the bottom of the table for the major part of the tournament and finally finished seventh.


D:  Cameron White (2011 and 2012): 

He was deputy to Sangakkara and since only four foreign players could play, Sanga often benched himself to get the combination right and White led in his absence.


8:  Rajasthan Royals (4)

Rajasthan Royals were the first champions of the IPL, way back in 2008. They have entered most of the times as underdogs but have often surprised the best. The team for the current season looks strong and is led by Australia’s Shane Watson with the very able Steve Smith as his deputy.


A:  Shane Warne (2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011): 

With a relatively weaker and inexperienced side, RR won the first edition of IPL. Warne was crucial to the development of RR. In 2009, 2010, and 2011, they finished sixth, seventh and sixth respectively. However the youngsters benefitted from Warne’s captaincy.


B:  Shane Watson (2008 and 2014): 

He led in absence of Warne and been his deputy for long time. In 2014, after Rahul Dravid’s retirement, Watson, RR’s star player for years, was handed the permanent leadership role. RR finished fifth in the last season.


C:  Rahul Dravid (2012 and 2013): 

Dravid took it up from where Warne left. He was another inspirational skipper, led from the front and mentored the youngsters well. In 2012, RR finished sixth under him and the year later ended in the third position.


D:  Steve Smith (2015): Led in Watson’s absence in the first game in 2015. Smith’s career graph is on the rise and he is a cricketer on whom RR will invest heavily on. The Australian sensation is surely a future skipper.




9:  Kolkata Knight Riders (3)

Kolkata Knight Riders is one of the most followed teams in the IPL. Under the leadership of GautamGambhir, the side has won two titles and are currently the defending champions. They could only display occasional brilliances in the first three editions. Even in this edition, they are one of the favourites.


A:  Sourav Ganguly (2008 and 2010): 

He was synonymous to the brand. An icon player in the first edition, under him the side showed occasional brilliances and sometimes there were frustrating defeats. Despite of a brilliant start, they ended sixth in the first season and in 2010, they once again finished sixth. Ganguly as captain and John Buchanan as coach never gelled well together.


B:  Brendon McCullum (2009):

Ganguly was removed from captaincy after the first season and McCullum was given the job. The team atmosphere wasn’t the best and they ended in the last position that season.


C:  Gautam Gambhir (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015):

GautamGambhir changed the fortunes of KKR. Under him, they ended in the top four for the first time in 2011, the following year they were crowned the champions. In 2013 they finished sixth but in 2014, once again they won the title. Gambhir’s form has been good for KKR and he has led the side from the front.


10:  Kochi Tuskers Kerala (2)

Kochi just participated in one season, which was 2011 and had MahelaJayawardene as skipper. In his absence Parthiv Patel led the side on one occasion.


11:  Chennai Super Kings (2)

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) is Twenty20 cricket’s most successful side and right from season one; they have had MS Dhoni as the captain. Dhoni’s leadership has been brilliant and every time they have had a top four finish and twice they have ended as champions. They have also won two CLT20 titles.


A:  MS Dhoni (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015): Apart from leading India during this time, he has led CSK in all the editions and has lifted the silverware twice. He is IPL’s most successful captain.


B:  Suresh Raina (2010): 

He has been Dhoni’s trusted deputy since long and in his absence in 2010,Raina led CSK in three matches.


(Suvajit Mustafi consumes cricket for lunch, fiction for dinner and munches numerous other snacks throughout the day. Yes, a jack of several trades, all Suvajit dreamt of was being India’s World Cup winning skipper but ended up being a sports writer, author, screenwriter, director, copywriter, graphic designer, sports marketer, strategist, entrepreneur,  philosopher and traveller. Donning so many hats, it’s cricket which gives him the ultimate high and where he finds solace. He can be followed at @RibsGully and rivu7)