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IPL 2021: 3 captains who are unlikely to lead in future editions

Eoin Morgan and MS Dhoni seem to have inspired their teams without much personal contribution.
Eoin Morgan and MS Dhoni seem to have inspired their teams without much personal contribution.
Yash Chaturvedi
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The Indian Premier League (IPL) is heading to a new phase, as a mega-auction will radically change the make-up of all franchises. Add to that the confirmed induction of two new franchises, and there is a lot of upheaval one can expect on the team rosters come next season.

One of the most difficult changes for fans to adjust to is likely to be Virat Kohli's resignation from the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) captaincy. The all-format Indian skipper, although unable to deliver an IPL trophy in 11 years of leading the franchise, was the face of the franchise and wore his heart on his sleeve as skipper. It will be interesting to see the dynamic that develops between Kohli and RCB's new skipper next season.

While Kohli might be leaving on his own volition, a few other IPL 2021 skippers may not have the same luxury. The cash-rich league is also cut-throat competitive, and a slip-up in form or team results often means curtains for captains, no matter what their international reputation may be.

Here are three leaders from this season who may not lead an IPL franchise again.


#3 Eoin Morgan (IPL 2020-21: KKR captain)

Eoin Morgan has not had great success in the IPL barring a decent 2020 season.
Eoin Morgan has not had great success in the IPL barring a decent 2020 season.

Brought in as a replacement skipper after a middling start to the 2020 IPL for the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), Eoin Morgan couldn't quite inspire his team to finish in the top four. Although England's World Cup winning captain was in a good vein of form personally, the team's mediocre bowling returns and underperforming top order held KKR back from achieving results.

IPL 2021 looked to be a forgettable season for Morgan and KKR, but some crucial changes between the two halves of the tournament saw the Kolkata franchise roar back into contention and enter the playoffs. Despite Morgan receiving plaudits for his inspirational captaincy this season, his personal returns have been abysmal - 129 runs from 15 games with a strike rate of 100.78.

KKR's strong comeback this season may have been down to the synergy of captain and coach. But given the crunch for foreign player spots and Morgan now being on the wrong side of 35, they could be separated next season.


#2 David Warner (IPL 2015-17, 2019-21: SRH captain)

Warner cut a sorry figure cheering for SRH from the stands.
Warner cut a sorry figure cheering for SRH from the stands.

One of the all-time legends of the IPL, David Warner started his journey in the league way back in 2009, amassing over 5000 runs over the course of time. However, as the likes of Suresh Raina can attest to, nobody is immune to a lean season, and Warner had his worst one by strike rate in 2021. That he still boasts an IPL career strike rate of close to 140 tells you the story of the monumental expectations from the southpaw.

Although poor form and bottom place on the points table can give jitters to any franchise, the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) dealt with Warner's axing in a rather shambolic and opaque manner, ill-fitting for one of SRH's most consistent performers of all time. The souring of relations between player and franchise has meant Warner is all but confirmed to be leaving SRH after this season.

Although Warner still looks to have years of cricket left in him, he does not have age on his side, and franchises are unlikely to bank on a skipper coming off an abysmal IPL season.


#1 MS Dhoni (IPL 2008-15, 2018-21: CSK captain)

MS Dhoni's contributions with the bat have fallen sharply in the past two years.
MS Dhoni's contributions with the bat have fallen sharply in the past two years.

Legendary former Indian skipper MS Dhoni's love affair with the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) has not waned since his international retirement. The three-time IPL-winning captain has been trusted by the franchise since its inception, and he has been a constant in a team that has reached a whopping nine IPL finals.

In 2021, although Dhoni led CSK to yet another IPL final right after a poor 2020 season, the scanner has firmly been placed on the wicketkeeper-batter's personal numbers this season. When he finished off Qualifier 1 with a quickfire 18, it was shockingly his highest score of the season, as he averages 16.28 this year.

Although Dhoni still has a lot to offer where tactical smarts are concerned, it would be a huge gamble for CSK to build a team around the aging skipper when he is unlikely to play for more than a season.


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Edited by Sai Krishna
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