Ranking the IPL's Top 10 Captains

Chris Teale@@chris_tealeFeatured ColumnistJanuary 16, 2014

Ranking the IPL's Top 10 Captains

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    The Indian Premier League, amidst all the glitz and glamour associated with the world’s premier Twenty20 tournament, has played host to some of the best captains in the world too.

    Franchise owners recognise the need for a leader who can guide their side effectively through what is a hectic schedule of more than a month of criss-crossing India.

    Read on for the top 10 captains in the IPL, who have led their sides with distinction while also maintaining a high level in their own games.


    All stats courtesy of ESPNCricInfo.

10. Sourav Ganguly

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    Teams: Kolkata Knight Riders, Pune Warriors
    IPL Matches: 59
    Years: 2008-2012
    Matches as Captain: 42 (17 wins, 25 losses, 40.47 win percentage)
    Stats: 1349 runs, 25.45 average, 106.80 strike rate, 91 highest score

    Starting our countdown is former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly, who enjoyed a good deal of success in the IPL after being jettisoned by his country.

    His final year may have been something of a disappointment for the Pune Warriors, but that should not cloud his impact on the IPL during the five seasons he spent there.

9. Kumar Sangakkara

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    Teams: Deccan Chargers, Kings XI Punjab, Sunrisers Hyderabad
    IPL Matches: 71
    Years: 2010-2013
    Matches as Captain: 47 (15 wins, 30 losses, 2 ties, 34.04 win percentage)
    Stats: 1687 runs, 25.95 average, 121.19 strike rate, 94 highest score

    Kumar Sangakkara, one of the IPL’s longest-serving and most successful batsmen, managed to combine his talents at the top of the order with astute captaincy.

    It was always a difficult balancing act to combine his batting, sometime wicket-keeping and captaincy, but he was always capable of managing his tough workload.

    As the captain of Sunrisers Hyderabad for the 2013 season, he took them to the Champions League Twenty20 later that year, where they were a little unlucky to not make the semifinals.

8. Anil Kumble

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    Teams: Royal Challengers Bangalore
    IPL Matches: 42
    Years: 2008-2010
    Matches as Captain: 26 (15 wins, 11 losses, 57.69 win percentage)
    Stats: 45 wickets, 23.51 average, 6.57 economy rate, 5-5 BBI

    As another Indian player who extended his IPL career even after his international tenure was over, Anil Kumble showed great aptitude for captaincy with Royal Challengers Bangalore.

    Appointed captain of the Royal Challengers after the departure of Kevin Pietersen in 2009, Kumble led the side to the final that year and to the semifinals in 2010.

    Throughout, he showed exceptional leadership as he helped revive one of 2008’s worst sides, although he must have been disappointed to fall just short of a tournament victory.

7. Rahul Dravid

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    Teams: Rajasthan Royals, Royal Challengers Bangalore
    IPL Matches: 89
    Years: 2008-2013
    Matches as Captain: 48 (22 wins, 26 losses, 45.83 win percentage)
    Stats: 2174 runs, 28.23 average, 115.51 strike rate, 75* highest score

    Playing nearly half his IPL matches as captain, former Indian skipper Rahul Dravid warrants a place in this list for his consistency with the bat while juggling the demands of captaincy.

    He also led the Rajasthan Royals to the Champions League Twenty20 last year, which was a fine way to cap off one of the best careers in the history of Indian cricket.

6. Virender Sehwag

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    Teams: Delhi Daredevils
    IPL Matches: 79
    Years: 2008-2013
    Matches as Captain: 52 (28 wins, 24 losses, 53.84 win percentage)
    Stats: 2174 runs, 29.37 average, 160.32 strike rate, 119 highest score

    Above Dravid comes one of the most explosive opening batsmen of all time and also one of the best captains in IPL history: Virender Sehwag.

    He spent two seasons as captain of the Delhi Daredevils before resigning to focus on his batting, although in 2011 he was re-appointed to skipper the side.

    Sehwag always managed to keep up his power hitting and high scoring at the top of the order while leading the Daredevils, which showed his great flexibility and durability.

5. Adam Gilchrist

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    Teams: Deccan Chargers, Kings XI Punjab
    IPL Matches: 80
    Years: 2008-2013
    Matches as Captain: 74 (35 wins, 39 losses, 47.29 win percentage)
    Stats: 2069 runs, 27.22 average, 138.39 strike rate, 109* highest score

    Combined with his superb batting at the top of the order, Adam Gilchrist also proved to be one of the better captains in the history of the IPL.

    A winner of the tournament in 2010 as captain of the Deccan Chargers, Gilchrist showed himself perfectly capable of leading a side even with the added pressures of keeping wicket.

4. Gautam Gambhir

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    Teams: Delhi Daredevils, Kolkata Knight Riders
    IPL Matches: 88
    Years: 2008-2013
    Matches as Captain: 63 (35 wins, 28 losses, 55.55 win percentage)
    Stats: 2471 runs, 31.67 average, 127.04 strike rate, 93 highest score

    In at No. 5 comes Gautam Gambhir, who—despite a stuttering international careerhas been an enormous success in the IPL since its inception in 2008.

    One of the leading run-scorers in the history of the competition, Gambhir has also led both teams he has played for, including leading the Knight Riders to the 2012 title.

3. Sachin Tendulkar

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    Teams: Mumbai Indians
    IPL Matches: 78
    Years: 2008-2013
    Matches as Captain: 51 (30 wins, 21 losses, 58.82 win percentage)
    Stats: 2334 runs, 34.83 average, 119.81 strike rate, 100* highest score

    Above Gambhir comes Sachin Tendulkar, who led his hometown Mumbai Indians with success.

    Their high point came in 2010 when the Indians reached the final of that year’s competition. The facts that Tendulkar captained the side, batted and had to cope with the expectations of the Indian public place him highly on this list.

2. Shane Warne

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    Teams: Rajasthan Royals
    IPL Matches: 55
    Years: 2008-2011
    Matches as Captain: 55 (30 wins, 24 losses, 1 tie, 55.45 win percentage)
    Stats: 57 wickets, 25.38 average, 7.27 economy rate, 4-21 BBI

    Proving himself as the best captain that Australia never had, Shane Warne showed his superb leadership skills with the Rajasthan Royals and was the heartbeat of the franchise for four seasons.

    He led the Royals to the first-ever IPL title in 2008 and continued to lead them during the rest of his time in the tournament before leaving in 2011.

1. Mahendra Singh Dhoni

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    Teams: Chennai Super Kings
    IPL Matches: 96
    Years: 2008-2013
    Matches as Captain: 96 (58 wins, 37 losses, 1 NR, 61.05 win percentage)
    Stats: 2243 runs, 38.01 average, 141.15 strike rate, 70* highest score

    At the top of this list comes the most successful captain in IPL history in terms of win percentage: Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

    Leader of the Chennai Super Kings, he led them to two IPL titles in 2010 and 2011 and also to the 2011 Champions League Twenty20.

    While doing this, he maintained a high standard with the bat and was one of the few players that the Super Kings retained ahead of the 2014 IPL player auction.