With only three teams in CSK, MI and RCB retaining their captains, teams like Kolkata Knight Riders, Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils are still looking for players who can lead their teams in the upcoming IPL 2018.
CSK retained and named MS Dhoni as their captain, Mumbai retained their three time IPL winning captain Rohit Sharma and RCB retained Virat Kohli, who led them to IPL 2016 finals. Meanwhile, Rajasthan Royals chose Steve Smith to captain them and Sunrisers Hyderabad retained their IPL 2016 winning captain David Warner.
Times of India reports that there are five serious captaincy contenders - Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Ajinkya Rahane and R Ashwin discussed by the franchises for the upcoming IPL 2018 auctions. Even the name of Manish Pandey as a possible captain has been discussed.
KKR may use RTM card to retain either Gambhir or Pandey; DD are looking seriously at R Ashwin as their captaincy candidate. Gambhir also has the chance to return to his original franchise, Delhi, if KKR do not retain him.
Recently Punjab team director Virender Sehwag hinted that the franchisee would like to get both Yuvraj and Harbhajan from the auctions. This make both of them strong candidates of leading the side and both have led IPL teams previously. Yuvraj was the captain and icon player of KXIP in the first three seasons of IPL, while Harbhajan Singh led Mumbai Indians in the inaugural edition, when Sachin Tendulkar was injured and even won the CLT20 for MI as captain.
The last option left is Ajinkya Rahane, who has a strong chance of being retained by Rajasthan Royals, can also be counted as captaincy candidate, if RR don’t use their RTM card on retaining him.
"I'm sure that KKR will bid for Gambhir but how hard they will go is the question. If his price goes beyond a certain point, they may not go too far. Gambhir has not been retained in the first place, so then there is no logic in KKR going all out for him in the auction. I guess it would depend more on auction price," Badrinath said.
"Rahane is a respected cricketer at the top level and has experience. He has the calmness around him. It was evident in the manner in which he led India in the Dharamshala Test against Australia last year," added Srikkanth.
"Ashwin has always been innovative and unorthodox in his approach. He is the lead spinner, can chip in with the bat and always has a sound strategy in place. He knows domestic cricket and follows various leagues. He will certainly be in contention as a leader," added Badrinath.