5 legends to win an IPL as player and coach ft. Gautam Gambhir

Gautam Gahmbir captained KKR to title wins in IPL 2012 and 2014 before winning third title with the team in IPL 2024 as mentor
Gautam Gahmbir captained KKR to title wins in IPL 2012 and 2014 before winning third title with the team in IPL 2024 as mentor.

There have been many instances of a cricketer joining one or the other team in the Indian Premier League (IPL) in a coaching role after retiring from the sport as a player. But, there have been very few such coaches or mentors who have won the title with the teams both as players in the first innings and as a member of the coaching staff in the second innings of their career.

One such instance was seen at the recently concluded IPL 2024 final, where Gautam Gambhir, who led Kolkata Knight Riders to a victory in 2012 and 2014, won a third title with the franchise, only this time as a mentor. Gambhir's association with the Knights proved fruitful as the team clinched their first title in 10 years.

That being said, let us look at five cricketing legends who have won the IPL trophy as players as well as coaches.

#5 Lakshmipathy Balaji

Members of CSK's coaching setup click a group picture after team's IPL 2018 title win
Members of CSK's coaching setup click a group picture after team's IPL 2018 title win

Former India bowler Lakshmipathy Balaji started his IPL career with Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and was a key member of their squad from 2008-2010. During his tenure with the side, he clinched his first IPL title when CSK lifted the cup in 2010.

The inaugural edition of the tournament was a standout campaign for him, as Balaji became the first-ever bowler to claim an IPL hat-trick. He was then roped in by KKR ahead of the 2011 edition of the tournament and represented the side in both their campaign-winning runs in 2012 and 2014.

After retiring from the sport in 2016, he returned to his former franchise CSK in 2018 as a bowling coach. He was a part of CSK's coaching setup when the Men in Yellow lifted their third and fourth IPL titles in 2018 and 2021.

#4 Ricky Ponting

Ricky Ponting alongside Sachin Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma lifting IPL 2013 trophy
Ricky Ponting alongside Sachin Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma lifting IPL 2013 trophy

Currently fulfilling his role as the head coach of Delhi Capitals (DC), Ricky Ponting started his IPL career with KKR in 2008. After a not-so-fruitful season, he returned to the tournament in 2013, this time to represent Mumbai Indians (MI) under Rohit Sharma's leadership.

In his very first campaign with the Mumbai-based franchise, Ponting emerged as a successful player as he contributed well towards his team's success and eventually lifted his first-ever IPL title as a player. Post his retirement, Ponting continued his association with MI in an advisory role.

It was in 2015 that he was handed over the head coach role, replacing John Wright. In his maiden coaching stint, he witnessed MI clinch their second IPL title as the Men in Blue beat their arch-rivals CSK in the summit clash.

#3 Ashish Nehra

Nehra's IPL journey as a player had been very topsy-turvy, as he represented five franchises before calling time on his stellar career. The Delhi-born cricketer kicked off his IPL career with Mumbai Indians in 2008 before moving to Delhi Daredevils for the next season.

He was roped in by the Delhi-based franchise again in 2013, after he represented Pune Warriors in 2011-12. Nehra then found his place in CSK's squad in 2014-15 before finally making his move to SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) in 2016, which turned out to be his lucky year.

Nehra won his maiden IPL title with SRH in 2016, which also stands as his only title as a player. He was then named Gujarat Titans' (GT) head coach when the team was introduced in 2022 and continues to remain in the role to date. Nehra became the first-ever Indian coach to win an IPL title as GT lifted the cup in their maiden IPL outing.

#2 Dwayne Bravo

West Indies all-rounder DJ Bravo has been a part of the IPL in some capacity since the tournament's inception in 2008. His first-ever IPL win came in the 2011 edition when he was a part of CSK's setup. He has been associated with the franchise since then, apart from the 2016 and 2017 editions when the franchise was suspended.

Bravo has been a part of CSK's winning campaigns in 2011, 2018 and 2021. He announced his retirement from IPL after the 2022 edition and replaced Balaji as the team's bowling coach next edition onwards.

In his first campaign as a coach with CSK, the-then MS Dhoni-led side lifted their fifth IPL trophy by beating GT in a thrilling final. Bravo, who was once the leading wicket-taker in the tournament's history, currently stands as the bowler with the third-highest number of wickets in IPL (183 scalps in 15 seasons).

#Gautam Gambhir

Former KKR cricketer and current mentor Gautam Gambhir's journey has been one to be remembered for ages to come. The Delhi-born player started his IPL journey with his home team, Delhi Daredevils, and represented the team for three editions before moving to KKR in 2011.

He became the highest-paid cricketer in IPL's history back then when KKR roped him in for INR 11.04 crore. Under his captaincy, KKR lifted the IPL trophy in 2012 by beating defending champions CSK at the latter's home ground. Gambhir's team saw a similar fate in 2014, as KKR clinched their second IPL title, this time by beating Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings).

After representing KKR till 2017, Gambhir was roped back in again by the Delhi-based franchise for the 2018 edition which also turned out to be his last as a player. He returned to IPL in the 2022 edition as Lucknow Super Giants' (LSG) mentor and led the team to back-to-back playoffs.

Life came full circle for Gambhir as he joined KKR again ahead of IPL 2024, as a mentor, and won his third cup with the franchise. After lifting the trophy as a player in 2014, he held the coveted cup for the first time after 10 years, with the same franchise, but only in a different capacity. KKR defeated SRH in the IPL 2024 final on Sunday, May 26, and are now three-time champions at the tournament.

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