IPL: Captains-Then And Now (2008 and 2021)

IPL captains then and now
IPL captains then and now
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Indian Premier League (IPL) was initially built in response to a rebel cricket league called the Indian Cricket League (ICL). Lalit Modi, the then IPL commissioner wanted to create a league that is on the lines of the English Premier League (EPL). Teams were found, owners were allotted, auctions happened, captains were chosen and IPL began in 2008 amidst all glitz and glory. It has been 14 seasons and IPL continues to motor along nicely.

StumpsandBails looks at captains of IPL teams in their first season and current season:

#1 Mumbai Indians 

2008: Shaun Pollock | Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar was MI’s icon player in 2008. MI had no hesitation in appointing Tendulkar as captain for the first season. But Tendulkar was injured for the first half of the season and Shaun Pollock stepped in as captain in the interim. 

2021: Rohit Sharma

MI appointed Rohit Sharma as captain in 2013 midway through the tournament in a desperate move to save their campaign. Rest as they say is history. Rohit Sharma has led MI to 5 IPL titles in 8 years. He will continue to captain MI in the years to come.

#2 Chennai Super Kings

2008 & 2021: MS Dhoni

IPL has seen one constant throughout its journey. That constant is CSK’s captain-Mahendra Singh Dhoni. CSK picked Dhoni in the auctions for INR 6 crores. Dhoni was the most expensive player in the auction back then. CSK nominated him as captain and he has remained so even after 14 years.

#3 Kolkata Knight Riders

2008: Sourav Ganguly

KKR appointed Sourav Ganguly as captain amidst much fanfare. His captaincy though couldn’t help KKR reach the playoffs. The initial 3 years for KKR were spent in disappointment.

2021: Eoin Morgan

KKR appointed England’s World Cup-winning captain, Eoin Morgan as KKR’s leader last season. Morgan has not delivered on the promise as yet.

#4 Royal Challengers Bangalore

2008: Rahul Dravid 

Rahul Dravid was RCB’s icon player and was their captain in the first season. RCB finished 7th in the points table and was dropped from captaincy in the next year.

2021: Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli took over captaincy reins in 2012 and has continued to be RCB’s captain till date.

#5 Punjab Kings

2008: Yuvraj Singh

Yuvraj Singh was Punjab’s icon player and captain. He holds the highest winning percentage as a Punjab captain till date. 

2021: KL Rahul

Punjab appointed KL Rahul captain in 2020. He continues to lead Punjab from the front even in 2021. 

#6 Delhi Capitals

2008: Virender Sehwag

Virender Sehwag was Delhi’s icon player and captain. He captained the Delhi franchise for the first two seasons. Delhi qualified for playoffs in both seasons under his leadership.

2021: Shreyas Iyer | Rishabh Pant

Delhi appointed Shreyas Iyer as captain midway through IPL 2018. Iyer led Delhi to playoffs in 2019 and under his captaincy, they reached the finals for the first time. Iyer’s injury before the tournament paved way for Rishabh Pant to take over the captaincy.

#7 Rajasthan Royals

2008: Shane Warne

Rajasthan Royals under Shane Warne were the story of the IPL in the first season (2008). RR were the inaugural champions of IPL. Shane Warne’s captaincy was one of the key reasons behind RR’s success.

2021: Sanju Samson

RR appointed Sanju Samson as their captain ahead of IPL 2021.


Sunrisers Hyderabad came into existence in 2013. Hence they aren’t included in this list. 

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