IPL Captains Who Topped Table In Debut Season

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5 IPL captains who topped the table in their debut season
5 IPL captains who topped the table in their debut season
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Captaining an IPL side is one of the most difficult jobs in the game. There is a lot of pressure that comes along with being an IPL captain. The best in the business have struggled to ride the wave of IPL captaincy. They have not only failed to lift themselves but also their teams.

It is not everyone’s cup of tea to lead a side successfully. But there have been few exceptions who have successfully led the side in the very first season itself. They took their respective teams to the top of the standings when leading the side for the first time.

We look at 5 such IPL captains who topped the table in the debut season:

#5 Kane Williamson, SRH [2018]

Kane Williamson replaced David Warner as SRH captain ahead of the 2018 season. David Warner was serving a 1-year IPL suspension on the back of the sandpaper gate scandal. SRH appointed Williamson as their leader for the season. There were many critics who doubted this move as Williamson was not a natural T20 player. But Williamson went on to prove everyone wrong as he smashed 735 runs that season. He led SRH with aplomb. SRH made it to the finals that season.

#4 Suresh Raina, GL [2016]

Suresh Raina had captained CSK on a few occasions in MS Dhoni’s absence. He made his full-time captaincy debut with Gujarat Lions in 2016. Raina surprisingly led the team quite well. The Lions were the first team to reach the playoffs that season. They topped the league table. Unfortunately, they suffered two successive defeats in the playoffs to miss out on a final berth. But what stood out was Raina’scommitment. He played mentor to many young players in the side. 

#3 George Bailey, KXIP [2014]

The ever-smiling George Bailey was appointed as Punjab’s captain in 2014. Many saw it as a left-field decision. But it eventually proved out to be a masterstroke from the franchise. Bailey brilliantly led his troops in 2014. It is widely believed that the Punjab side of 2014 is one of the best IPL sides ever assembled. 

Punjab’s batting arsenal that year still remains one of the most destructive batting units in IPL history. The likes of Glenn Maxwell, David Miller, Wriddhiman Saha set IPL 2014 on fire. But at the heart of it, much of the team’s success was primarily owing to George Bailey’s leadership. He was an excellent man-manager who was able to bring the best out of all his players.

#2 Daniel Vettori, RCB [2011]

Daniel Vettori is another underrated captain who finds a mention in this list. Vettori was one of the most respected players in the game. Post Anil Kumble’s highly successful stint as captain in 2009-10, it was Vettori’s turn to lead the side. The RCB side didn’t have a great start to their campaign. But the arrival of Chris Gayle midway through the IPL changed their fortunes. RCB went on to top the league standings. If not for a rampant CSK side in the playoffs, RCB would have won their maiden IPL title back then.

#1 Shane Warne, RR [2008]

Shane Warne is regarded as the best captain Australia never had. He finally got a chance to captain a side full-time in The IPL. Warne led the Rajasthan Royals for the first three seasons. Nobody had given RR a chance post the auctions. They appeared to be a team devoid of riches. 

Shane Warne was their only star player who too was well past his prime. But herein lie the genius of Warne. He led an effective RR unit and won them the title. Warne’s captaincy gave a new lease of life to cricketers like Shane Watson. He developed superstars out of Ravindra Jadeja and Yusuf Pathan. Warne leading RR to the inaugural IPL title is one of the best IPL stories ever.

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