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5 surprise captains in the history of IPL

Ther have been 51 captains since the inception of IPL
Ther have been 51 captains since the inception of IPL
Meit Sampat
SENIOR ANALYST
Modified 08 Apr 2021
Top 5 / Top 10

T20 cricket is a game of uncertainties. The captain plays a vital role in all forms of the game, but the responsibility seemingly augments in T20 cricket. Besides his other usual responsibilities, he has to be very prompt with his field changes and has to adapt to the fast pace of the shortest format of cricket.

The Indian Premier League has witnessed 51 cricketers who have captained their respective teams. While some were obvious choices as skippers, there have been a few whose appointment has been a bit of a surprise.

On that note, here is a look at 5 such cricketers, who were surprise picks as IPL team captains:


1. Karun Nair

Karun Nair captained Delhi Daredevils in 3 IPL matches in 2017
Karun Nair captained Delhi Daredevils in 3 IPL matches in 2017

Zaheer Khan was originally the skipper for Delhi Daredevils in IPL 2017. He was injured midway through the season and Karun Nair was named the skipper in his absence.

Nair had played 41 IPL matches before the 2017 season and had not tasted much success, registering 877 runs in 37 innings. And in 2017, he had averaged only 17 runs in 6 innings before he was appointed as the skipper.

Nair's appointment as captain of the Delhi franchise was a bit of a surprise given the team had the likes of Angelo Mathews and Carlos Brathwaite, who had captained their respective teams at the international level.

Out of his three matches as skipper, the right-handed batsman won two and lost one. Since then, he has never captained a side in IPL cricket.

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2. Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Bhuvneshwar captained Sunrisers Hyderabad in 6 IPL matches in 2019
Bhuvneshwar captained Sunrisers Hyderabad in 6 IPL matches in 2019

Kane Williamson was named the original captain of Sunrisers Hyderabad for the 2019 IPL season with Bhuvneshwar Kumar playing the role of his deputy.

Williamson returned home midway through the season on account of a personal loss which promoted Kumar to the captain's ranks. Bhuvi led the team in 6 matches in IPL 2019 but didn't enjoy much success - winning only two of the games.

He was picked as skipper ahead of experienced captains like David Warner and Shakib Al Hasan.


3. James Hopes

James Hopes captained Delhi Daredevils in 3 matches in IPL 2011
James Hopes captained Delhi Daredevils in 3 matches in IPL 2011

Delhi Daredevils had a horrendous start to IPL 2011, winning only 4 of their first 11 matches. They had to win their final three league matches and required other results to go their way in order to qualify for the playoffs.

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The team suffered a big blow when their skipper Virender Sehwag was ruled out of those group-stage matches. James Hopes was named their captain. He could not change the fortunes of the team and DD lost two of their last three games with the other match being abandoned.

Delhi Daredevils finished last in the points table in IPL 2011. Hopes hasn't led any side in the IPL since.


4. Parthiv Patel

Parthiv Patel has captained only one game in IPL
Parthiv Patel has captained only one game in IPL

The former Indian wicket-keeper-batsman once captained the now-defunct Kochi Tuskers Kerala team and hence makes it to the list.

He got the opportunity in 2011, in the absence of Kerala's regular skipper Mahela Jayawardene. The move surprised everybody as Patel was chosen for the captain's role ahead of experienced cricketers like Brendon McCullum, VVS Laxman and Brad Hodge.

Patel captained the Kerala franchise in just one game that season, in which they lost by 11 runs. The team finished 8th in the points table, and like the other captains on this list, this was a solitary stint for Patel too.


5. Murali Vijay

Murali Vijay captained Kings XI Punjab in 8 matches
Murali Vijay captained Kings XI Punjab in 8 matches
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Kings XI Punjab lost 5 of their first 6 matches in IPL 2016 under the captaincy of David Miller.

The management decided to appoint Murali Vijay as the captain for the remainder of the season. Vijay could not change the fortunes of the team and won only 3 of the remaining 8 matches.

Kings XI Punjab finished at the bottom of the points table in IPL 2016. Though he did not taste much success as captain, Vijay was the top run-scorer for the team that season.

Published 08 Apr 2021, 14:40 IST
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