The best XI among IPL captains

The skipper needs to back his players, be proactive on the field and needs to set an example for other players as well.

Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli checks MS Dhoni’s thumb. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Ayuj Aryan
Ayuj Aryan

Staff Writer

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Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Over the past few years, the role of a good leader in the Indian Premier League has been widely highlighted. The captain needs to back his players, be proactive on the field and needs to set an example for other players as well. The franchises generally appoint their best and most experienced player as the captain.

How fun would it be to assemble a playing XI of IPL captains! Such a team, with its broad experience and abilities, can prove to be a champion side, and defeat even the best of the oppositions that come in the way. Who makes it to this side? Who will lead the pack of leaders? Let’s find out!

Here’s the best XI of IPL captains:

1. David Warner

David Warner
David Warner. (Photo: IANS)

David Warner features in this squad as the first opener. The explosive left-hander has been a vital cog in Sunrisers Hyderabad’s camp for years now, both as a batsman and a captain. The peak moment for the Australian came in 2016 when his captaincy guided the franchise to their first-ever title. He himself scored 858 runs in the tournament.

Since joining the franchise in 2014, Warner has scored above 500 runs in every season he played. He is the only batsman to have won the orange cap thrice, in 2015, 2017 and 2019. Batting at the top, he can attack the opposition bowlers from the word go, thereby making him a perfect opener in this XI.

The franchise will hope that he is on a high this season as well. His form will be very important if Sunrisers Hyderabad has any chance of winning their second IPL title this year.

2. Gautam Gambhir

Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir of Kolkata Knight Riders. (Photo Source: Twitter)

One of the cult legends of the game, Gautam Gambhir was the sipper of the Kolkata Knight Riders’ franchise that won the tournament in 2012 and 2014. The southpaw was the backbone of the KKR batting lineup and played a key role in most of the games.

Gambhir features as the second opener in this XI. He can provide stability to the top-order, which will also help Warner to play his natural game from the other side. Together, the two can maximize the use of powerplay and provide excellent starts to the team in every game.

Gambhir played for Delhi Capitals and Kolkata Knight Riders in the tournament. He ended his IPL career with 4217 runs to his name, with the average being 31 and the strike rate being well above 120.

3. Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli. (Photo: Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS)

No prizes for guessing why he is in the XI. One of the finest batsmen of the sport, Virat Kohli has been ruling the tournament for years now. The 30-year-old is the highest run-getter of the tournament, and his inclusion in the squad as the number three is a no-brainer.

Although he is yet to win an IPL title, Kohli has dominated every season with his explosive batting, dynamic fielding, and electrifying aggression. He was unstoppable in 2016 and amassed scored 973 runs to make it the highest-ever score in one season.

Despite having so many feathers in his cap, winning an IPL title remains to be a challenge for him. If Royal Challengers Bangalore wants to win their maiden title this year, they would hope for yet another top show from their best batsman.

4. Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma. (Photo Source: IANS)

One could have been surprised not to find his name in the openers list, but the most successful captain of the tournament is a definite feature in the XI. Rohit has played at number 4 for Mumbai Indians several times in the past. Therefore, he features at the same spot in this team.

With 4898 runs to his name at a strike-rate of 130, Rohit is one of the most successful batsmen in the tournament. The right-hander can play the role of aggressor in the XI and capitalize on the start provided by the star-studded top-order.

Having won the IPL title only in the odd seasons (2013, 2015, 2017, 2019), Rohit will look end the jinx of never winning a title in an even year this time around. His form will be important for the tournament as well as for India during the T20I World Cup later this year.

5. Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Captain and wk)

MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni. (Photo: Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS)

The legendary Captain Cool, who has guided Chennai Super Kings into 8 finals, has got to be a definite feature in this playing XI. MS Dhoni features in this team as the wicket-keeper batsman and a finisher, who can torment any bowling attacks during the death overs.

Under Dhoni’s cool head, CSK has won three titles, thereby being one of the most successful franchises in the tournament’s history. He himself has 4432 runs under his belt, with the strike-rate almost breaching the 140 mark. Besides this, he has inflicted certain game-changing dismissal behind the stumps, his tally being 136.

Dhoni will also lead this captain’s XI, ahead of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. He will probably be playing his last season for CSK this year and would like to sign off in style by leading the franchise to its fourth title this year.

6. Shane Watson

Shane Watson
Shane Watson. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Shane Watson has been a valuable all-rounder for all his franchises since the inaugural season in 2008. The Australian made his first mark for Rajasthan Royals when he guided them to title victory in 2008. He has also led Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals in a total of 24 games.

Watson will be the main all-rounder in this playing XI. Batting in the lower middle order, he can go for the kill, and help his team to post huge totals. Moreover, he will also be the 6th bowling option in this team. Having such a batting all-rounder is an asset for any team.

Watson has been through an illustrious career of 134 games, wherein he has scored 3575 runs and provided 92 breakthroughs. He might be nearing the end of his career and would like to sign off with a title for Chennai Super Kings.

7. Ravichandran Ashwin

Ravichandran Ashwin. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)

After spending many fruitful seasons at Chennai Super Kings and Rising Supergiants, Ravichandran Ashwin shifted his base to Kings XI Punjab in 2018 and was instantly appointed as the skipper of the franchise. However, his two-year stint with the team didn’t produce any favourable results and the team couldn’t reach playoffs in both the seasons.

Ashwin features as the lone off-spinner in this playing XI. With 125 IPL wickets, he continues to be one of the most successful spinners in the tournament. Moreover, he has been a strike-bowler for many franchises, chipping in with wickets during important phases of the game.

Lastly, Ashwin will also be adding depth to this batting order. He is expected to play the second fiddle to Shane Watson in case of a top-order collapse. The 33-year-old will represent Delhi Capitals this year.

8. Anil Kumble

Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble
Anil Kumble with Rahul Dravid. (Photo by Ritam Banerjee-IPL 2010/IPL via Getty Images)

Perhaps one of the best leg-spinner India has ever produced, Anil Kumble was a strike bowler for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the initial years. The Jumbo also led the franchise in 2009 and 2010 and even led the team to the league final in 2009.

Kumble scalped 45 wickets in his 42 match career, with his economy being a minimal 6.5. Who can forget his magical 5/5 against Rajasthan Royals, when the team dismissed the team for just 58! The leg-spinner features in the playing XI as the second spinner.

Therefore, Kumble features in this playing XI as the second spinner. He is a utility bowler, who can bowl in the powerplay as well as middle overs, thereby providing multiple options to the captain during the first six overs.

9. Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Bhuvneshwar Kumar. (Photo: IANS)

One of the masters of swing bowling, Bhuvi has played an instrumental role in Sunrisers Hyderabad’s success over the years. Since 2012, he has come out as a strike bowler for his franchise. The pacer reaped success for his exploits in the form of purple cap in 2016 and 2017, thereby becoming one of the only two bowlers to win the award twice.

After David Warner was suspended for one season due to ball-tampering saga, he was appointed as the deputy to skipper Kane Williamson. He got to lead the team in six games, but couldn’t return with very successful results as the team lost 4 of those games.

Bhuvneshwar has scalped 133 wickets for SRH at an inexpensive economy of 7.24. He features as the first pacer in this playing XI. He will have the onus of bowling in the powerplay and death overs in this spin-bowling dominated side. He batting is an added advantage for the team.

10. Shane Warne

Shane Warne IPL
Shane Warne IPL. (Photo Source: CHRIS RATCLIFFE/AFP/Getty Images)

A champion bowler with over 700 test wickets for Australia, Shane Warne didn’t fail to impress in the Indian Premier League either. He led the Rajasthan Royals to a title victory in the inaugural season itself with brilliant captaincy skills. He himself set an example with 19 wickets in 15 games.

Warne continued playing for the franchise for 3 more seasons. He scalped 57 wickets in 55 games, with his economy being just above 7. The legendary leg-spinner features in this spin-heavy playing XI as the third spinner.

He, alongside Kumble and Ashwin, can easily pierce through any batting order, and chip in with crucial wickets during middle overs. Also, all of them are pretty economical bowlers.

11. Zaheer Khan

Zaheer Khan
Zaheer Khan. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Zaheer Khan was appointed as the skipper of Delhi Daredevils (now Capitals) for the 2016 and 2017 season. However, he couldn’t lead the franchise to success and returned with only 10 victories in 23 games as a skipper across two seasons. His personal performance also took a dip during this phase.

However, Zaheer was a strike pacer for various IPL franchises over his 100 match career. With his vast experience, he can be a valuable asset for any of the teams. He features in this playing XI as the second pacer, alongside Bhuvneshwar. The two can be a deadly pair in the powerplay, and trouble the batsmen with their fierce swing.