The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 has been a mixed bag for captains of various franchises. Rather ironically, KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya, the leaders of the two new teams, the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) and the Gujarat Titans (GT), have stood out.
Rahul has led from the front with the bat for LSG, amassing 537 runs at an average of 48.82 and a strike rate of 135.26. Pandya has contributed 413 runs in 13 games for GT at an average of 41.30 and a strike rate of 131.53.
Among other captains, Royal Challengers Bangalore’s (RCB) Faf du Plessis has had a mixed run. He has managed 443 runs at an average of 34.08 and a strike rate of 130.68. The South African has a chance to make an impact in the playoffs.
Will these franchises have new leaders for IPL 2023?
Delhi Capitals’ (DC) Rishabh Pant and Mumbai Indians’ (MI) Rohit Sharma had horror runs with the willow while leading their respective franchises in IPL 2022. Pant’s captaincy skills also came under question in DC's last league match against the Mumbai Indians (MI). However, the management of both teams are likely to retain them as leaders for next season.
A few others may not be as lucky. We predict three sides who might have new captains for the next edition.
#1 Punjab Kings (PBKS)
Punjab Kings (PBKS) finished the IPL 2022 league stage in sixth place with seven wins and as many losses. They ended their campaign with a five-wicket victory over SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH), but it was a bit too late as the franchise had already been eliminated from the playoff race.
Punjab captain Mayank Agarwal’s poor showing with the bat was one of the main reasons behind the team’s disappointing performance this season. He scored only 196 runs in 13 matches at an average of 16.33 and a strike rate of 122.50.
Agarwal had only one half-century to show for his efforts. The added pressure of the captaincy clearly affected his batting. He even moved down from the opening position to the middle order, but his fortunes did not change.
Agarwal did win plaudits for sacrificing his opening position for the team and was decent with his tactical moves on the field. However, Punjab need him more as a batter than a captain.
In each of the previous two seasons, he scored more than 400 runs. Agarwal could very well return as a pure batter for Punjab next season.
#2 SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH)
Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) had the most bizarre IPL 2022 campaign of all teams. They began with two losses, then won five matches in a row and followed it up by losing as many games consecutively. Hyderabad ultimately finished eighth in the points table, registering six wins and eight losses. They concluded their season with a five-wicket defeat at the hands of Punjab.
Kane Williamson, who was retained as captain ahead of IPL 2022, failed to inspire the franchise. He had a tepid season with the bat, and that's putting it mildly. The New Zealand batter played 13 matches, managing only 216 runs at an average of 19.64 and an abysmally poor strike rate of 93.51.
While Abhishek Sharma impressed at the other end with 426 runs at a strike rate of 133.13, Hyderabad often got stuck because Williamson could not get going in the powerplay. Rahul Tripathi, Aiden Markram and Nicholas Pooran did well, but they were always covering up for the captain’s deficiencies. There is every reason for SRH to look for a new captain in the new season.
#3 Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR)
The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) went into IPL 2022 as one of the main contenders to finish in the top four. They began their season on an impressive note, winning three of their first four matches. However, things kept going downhill for them from there. They never had any consistency with regards to team selection, which was reflected in their performances. In the end, they finished seventh, winning only six and losing eight matches.
On an individual level, KKR captain Shreyas Iyer did not have a bad season. He scored 401 runs in 14 games at an average of 30.85 and a strike rate of 134.56. However, the level of consistency expected from him was not quite there. Even on the field Kolkata looked like a disjointed unit, which was not surprising considering the number of changes they made.
Shreyas was also embroiled in controversy when he made the "CEO is also involved in team selection" statement. He later issued a clarification, which wasn’t very convincing. Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra, speaking about the controversy, stated:
“I think he got a rap on his knuckles and maybe he was told to change his statement.”
The trust between Shreyas and the KKR management might not be the same as it was at the start of IPL 2022. Hence, a change in leadership for Kolkata will be on expected lines.