BCCI began the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2008 and, in the last 12 years, it has become the biggest cricket league on the planet. IPL is the only tourney where active Indian cricketers share the dressing room with overseas stars.
Over the years, many great players like Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne, Adam Gilchrist, VVS Laxman, Sourav Ganguly, Mahela Jayawardene, Rahul Dravid, Kumar Sangakkara, Shaun Pollock, and several others have led a team in the IPL.
Captaining a team full of stars requires much experience and good leadership qualities. As mentioned above, IPL franchises have, over the years, assigned the captaincy of their team to some legendary players. However, in this article, we will look at the three instances when the team management surprised the fans with their captaincy pick.
3. Rising Pune Supergiant name Steve Smith as IPL captain despite MS Dhoni's presence
Rising Pune Supergiant was one of the two teams that replaced Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings when the two former IPL-winning franchises were under suspension. The Pune-based franchise signed MS Dhoni in 2016 and appointed them as their captain.
However, the team management was not satisfied with the team's mediocre performance in the ninth season of IPL. Pune then decided to hand over the reins of the team to Australian Test captain Steve Smith.
This decision led to many raised eyebrows because Dhoni is the only captain to win the ICC World Cup, ICC T20 World Cup, IPL, Champions League T20, and ICC Champions Trophy.
Nevertheless, Rising Pune Supergiant made it to the final of IPL 2017 where they lost to Mumbai Indians by one run.
2. Pune Warriors name Aaron Finch as IPL captain in 2013
Another IPL team that preferred an Australian as captain ahead of an Indian player was Pune Warriors India in 2013. Sourav Ganguly and Yuvraj Singh had captained the team in the first two seasons but Pune finished in the lower half of the points table in both seasons.
In 2013, they had some seasoned T20 stars like Ross Taylor, Robin Uthappa, Marlon Samuels, and Yuvraj Singh in the squad, but they assigned the captaincy to Aaron Finch after their first choice skipper Angelo Matthews got injured.
Finch had just made his ODI debut for Australia earlier that year, and he could not handle the pressure of leading the team as Pune could only record two wins in 10 matches under his leadership.
1. Delhi Daredevils assign leadership to James Hopes in 2011
Former Australian all-rounder James Hopes is currently a part of the Delhi Capitals' coaching staff. Hopes has had a close association with the Delhi-based franchise as he played his last IPL season for Delhi in 2011 and led the team in three matches.
Regular captain Virender Sehwag was unavailable for the last three games, and the team management picked Hopes to lead the team in his absence. It is noteworthy that Delhi had former Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan in the squad along with Australia's swashbuckling opener David Warner.
However, the franchise went with Hopes, and unfortunately, the team could not win a single match under him.