3 reasons why M.S. Dhoni's record of most capped captain will never be broken
In yet another last-ball thriller, the Rajasthan Royals (RR) defeated the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) by three runs on Wednesday (April 12).
After a middle-order collapse put the Super Kings in serious peril, the seasoned duo of M.S. Dhoni (32* off 17) and Ravindra Jadeja (25* off 15) pushed CSK agonizingly close to an unexpected victory.
On a day when Dhoni played his 200th game as CSK's captain — the first captain to do so with a single franchise in IPL history, the veteran once again took the initiative to almost lead his team to a miraculous victory. Apart from CSK, he had led the Rising Pune Supergiants for 14 games too.
Dhoni has won CSK four IPL Titles and one Champions Trophy. He has also seen his side reach nine IPL finals in 13 seasons, making CSK the most consistent side in IPL history.
On that note, let us take a look at three reasons why Dhoni's record of more than 200 games as captain of an IPL team will never be broken:
#1 Number of IPL seasons required to get to 200+ games as captain
Dhoni has been the only captain to lead a team in the inaugural edition of the IPL and continues to do so to this day. At the age of 41, he remains extremely fit and delivers great performances not just as a captain but also as a batter and wicketkeeper.
Assuming a player would captain his side for an average of around 15 games per IPL season, he would require at least 14 seasons to match Dhoni's record.
With most cricketers these days retiring in the mid-to-late-thirties and a general assumption that most captains are 25+, it would mean that the probability of any player breaking Dhoni's record is negligible.
#2 Unforgiving nature of the league
IPL is by far the toughest league in world cricket at the moment. With intense competition in the league, captains and players are selected only on the basis of recent performances, rather than reputation or sentiment.
A highly-successful captain like David Warner was not just sacked as captain but dropped from the Playing XI by the SunRisers Hyderabad mid-way through IPL 2021. One of the world's best captains and batters, Ricky Ponting, too relinquished the captaincy and was dropped from the playing XI by Mumbai Indians in 2013 and was not given another chance.
Apart from Virat Kohli, no other player has played for only one IPL franchise in his entire career. This shows that being a regular player in the IPL for a period of 14, let alone as a captain, is a big ask.
#3 Workload Management
On the list of the most capped captains in the IPL, Rohit Sharma stands second with 146 games while Virat Kohli stands third with 140 games. Kohli relinquished his RCB captaincy at the end of IPL 2021, citing workload management.
With the high number of games (for franchises and countries combined) being played every year by cricketers, injuries are a frequent occurrence. Often, international stars withdraw from the competition due to international duty, workload management or injuries.
The mental pressure of captaincy coupled with the high number of games being played has resulted in many top international captains like Joe Root, Faf Du Plessis, Virat Kohli, A.B. de Villiers and Kane Williamson giving up international captaincy within a few years. Thus, expecting anybody to captain an IPL franchise for even 10 seasons might be a big ask in modern-day cricket.