Captaincy is a very crucial element of any team sport. The team management looks for good leadership qualities in their squad and elects the best candidate as their skipper. The likes of MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma, and Gautam Gambhir have proved that an excellent captain can transform a group of match-winners to a champion team in the IPL.
Every season, all teams have almost equal strengths and weaknesses. All franchises splurge crores of rupees to sign the big names in the auction. However, the cricket universe has noted that just signing match-winners does not lead teams to the title, and often, the franchise with the best captain succeeds in the league.
Generally, the franchise elects the most experienced player or the squad's most consistent player as its captain, but here are the five players with the most IPL appearances who have surprisingly never led a team in the competition.
5. AB de Villiers - 154 IPL matches
AB de Villiers has become an integral part of the Royal Challengers Bangalore team in the last decade. Even though de Villiers had captained South Africa in the past, RCB team management has not used him as a skipper till date.
Virat Kohli missed a few matches for Bangalore in 2017, and de Villiers could have led RCB. However, even he was not available to play, so the team management had to go with Shane Watson.
For the record, the South African player has scored 4,395 runs in 142 innings, including three centuries and 33 fifties.
4. Piyush Chawla - 157 IPL matches
Piyush Chawla started his career playing for Kings XI Punjab, and a few seasons later, he became a part of the Kolkata Knight Riders squad. The 2011 World Cup winner had been a part of both KKR's IPL triumphs.
However, both franchises never gave Chawla the take over the reins of the team. Chawla played 70 games for Kolkata, scalping 66 wickets at an economy rate of 8.22. The 31-year-old leg-spinner will don the Chennai Super Kings jersey in IPL 2020.
The presence of MS Dhoni and other experienced international players in the CSK squad might not allow Chawla to lead an IPL team this year.
3. Ravindra Jadeja - 170 IPL matches
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Saurashtra's spin-bowling all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja made his IPL debut as a part of the Rajasthan Royals in 2008. The 31-year-old has played for Kochi Tuskers Kerala, Gujarat Lions, and Chennai Super Kings in the last 12 years, featuring in 170 matches.
Jadeja became a regular part of the Indian cricket team after joining CSK. The Chennai-based franchise has two experienced leaders in the form of MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina. Raina was also the captain of the Gujarat Lions in the franchise's brief existence. Hence, Jadeja never got a chance to lead a side despite having 1,925 runs and 106 wickets to his name.
2. Yusuf Pathan - 174 IPL matches
Yusuf Pathan made a name for himself with his match-winning performances for the Rajasthan Royals in the first few seasons of IPL. He switched to Kolkata Knight Riders in 2011 and won two trophies with them.
The Baroda-based all-rounder turned up in 106 matches for KKR, where he scored 1,893 runs and scalped 21 wickets. Since the team was performing so well under Gautam Gambhir, the team management never thought of changing their skipper.
In 2018, Pathan joined the Sunrisers Hyderabad. The Orange Army lost their regular captain David Warner's services ahead of the season. However, the backroom staff selected Kane Williamson as his replacement because of his international experience. Yusuf went unsold in IPL 2020 Auction.
1. Robin Uthappa - 177 IPL matches
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Former Orange Cap winner Robin Uthappa has played for four franchises in his career. He began his career with the Mumbai Indians in 2008 and then moved to Royal Challengers Bangalore.
In 2011, during the mega-auction, Pune Warriors signed Uthappa. However, he achieved the most success while playing for the Kolkata Knight Riders. The right-handed batsman from Karnataka aggregated 2,439 runs in 84 innings for the 2-time champions.
Like Yusuf Pathan, Uthappa never got the chance to lead the team because of Gambhir's magnificent record.
Uthappa's best opportunity to become an IPL team captain was in 2013 when he was a part of Pune Warriors. The Pune-based franchise picked Aaron Finch, Ross Taylor, and Angelo Mathews as their captain but never considered Uthappa for this job.
Kolkata released him before IPL 2020 auction, and he will play for Rajasthan Royals this year.Published 08 Sep 2020, 15:57 IST