IPL is unarguably the best T20 league in the world. The tournament demands professionalism to the core. Franchises resort to desperate measures when things don’t go their way. They change captains muddle with combinations. IPL 2021 witnessed this too. We look at the tournament history and list down instances when captains were changed mid-season.
#8 Anil Kumble replacing Kevin Pietersen (2009)
RCB appointed Kevin Pietersen as captain ahead of IPL 2009. But he failed to win games for RCB. $1.5 million signing couldn’t do the job for Bangalore. Anil Kumble took over the reins mid-season in 2009. He then led RCB to finals and also managed to take them to the semi-finals in 2010.
#7 Rohit Sharma replacing Ricky Ponting (2013)
MI appointed Ricky Ponting as captain ahead of IPL 2013. The move generated a lot of buzz. But Ponting couldn’t fire and lift the side. He stepped down from captaincy mid-season. MI handed over the responsibility to a young Rohit Sharma. The rest as they say is history.
#6 Darren Sammy replacing Shikhar Dhawan (2014)
SRH had appointed Shikhar Dhawan as captain in IPL 2014. He failed to inspire the side and was replaced mid-season. Darren Sammy took over the responsibilities but couldn’t create magic with this captaincy.
#5 Steve Smith replacing Shane Watson (2015)
Steve Smith-led RR in Shane Watson’s absence for the first five games in IPL 2015. He led the side to 5 consecutive wins. But once Watson returned he resumed his captaincy duties. RR though faltered under Watson’s leadership and he later stepped down paving way for Smith to take over.
#4 Shreyas Iyer replacing Gautam Gambhir (2018)
Delhi Capitals had appointed Gautam Gambhir as captain in 2018. But the two-time IPL winning captain failed to inspire the Delhi side. He stepped down midway and handed over captaincy duties to Shreyas Iyer.
#3 Steve Smith replacing Ajinkya Rahane (2019)
Steve Smith was debarred from captaincy in 2018 and Ajinkya Rahane captained RR in his absence. But RR failed to deliver under Rahane and the mantle was again passed over to Smith.
#2 Eoin Morgan replacing Dinesh Karthik (2020)
Dinesh Karthik surprisingly handed over the captaincy duties mid-season last IPL. KKR weren’t really struggling under Karthik’s leadership and hence the move caught everyone by surprise. KKR appointed World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan as their new leader.
#1 Kane Williamson replacing David Warner (2021)
The one decision that shook IPL this season was the axing of David Warner as SRH’s captain. SRH managed just 1 single win in 6 games under Warner. Add to this was Warner’s press conference where he openly disagreed with the think tank. This move probably cost Warner badly. The most consistent batsmen of the league, the best batsman of the team, the captain who won them the solo title was axed unceremoniously. Kane Williamson was made SRH’s captain.
IPL can be a cruel place if things don’t go your way. These moves are a testimony to that fact.