IPL 2018: 5 potential captain picks
Having the right leader has proven to be essential in the Indian Premier League. M.S. Dhoni for the Chennai Super Kings, Rohit Sharma for the Mumbai Indians and Gautam Gambhir for the Kolkata Knight Riders have shown how the right form of captaincy can go a long way. Even though it is yet to be officially announced, it is more or less obvious that five out of the eight teams have retained their leader already.
Mumbai Indians - Rohit Sharma
Royal Challengers Bangalore - Virat Kohli
Chennai Super Kings - M.S. Dhoni
Sunrisers Hyderabad - David Warner
Rajasthan Royals - Steve Smith
This leaves the Kolkata Knight Riders, Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils without captains. They will be looking to come out of the auction with a solid leader in their ranks. Here are five players who have captaincy material imbibed in them:
#5 Ajinkya Rahane
Ajinkya Rahane was widely regarded as a player for the longer formats and wasn't given too many chances in his 3-year stint with the Mumbai Indians. After a disappointing debut season for his new franchise, the Rajasthan Royals, Rahane came to life when he was made to open in the 2012 season, and he hasn't shied away since.
Rahane has received a lot of praise from his mentor Rahul Dravid for the manner in which he has grown as a player. Much like his mentor, Rahane has the favourable traits of being cool and collected on the field.
Owing to his maturity, he was conferred with the title of vice-captain of the Indian cricket team in Test cricket. He even led India to a win against Australia in one game of their four-match Test series. In the absence of Steve Smith, it was Rahane (and surprisingly not Dhoni) who led the Rising Pune Supergiant last season.
By his standards, IPL 2017 wasn't a good one for him with the bat. Moreover, he has been shunted in and out of the Indian team in recent times owing to a dip in form. Despite all this, Rajasthan's decision to not retain him was a surprising one. After all, he has time and again proven how consistent a batsman he is, and will more likely than not bounce back to form in the upcoming edition of the IPL.
With his maturity and vast experience, he would make a good leader. The captain-less teams will be looking to nab Rahane, but will naturally be well aware of the fact that the Royals are likely to use their right-to-match card on him.