The Indian Premier League season 11 saw many changes to the leagues look and feel. There were teams with new player combinations and two former franchises returned to the fold after a 2 years absence of suspension.
With new player combinations, many teams saw it fit to go with new captains as well, which happened by necessity or by force. SRH was forced to choose a new captain, as their regular skipper David Warner was banned by BCCI from playing in this edition of the tournament and they chose Kiwi Kane Williamson to lead them. MS Dhoni returned to helm the Chennai Super Kings, while Rohit Sharma looked forward to defending Mumbai Indians’ crown as champions.
Kolkata Knight Riders had parted ways with their most successful captains in Gautam Gambhir and decided to make their new recruit Dinesh Karthik, their new leader. Rajasthan Royals too felt the heat of the ball tampering scandal, as Steve Smith was banned from IPL 11 and they then named Ajinkya Rahane as their captain.
KXIP too had to make a bold decision for their captain and chose to give the leadership to R Ashwin, who is known for his cricketing knowledge. Delhi Daredevils saw Gautam Gambhir leading them for the first few matches, but then performance issues led them to name 23-year-old Shreyas Iyer as the captain.
Therefore, with so many changes in captaincy, it becomes necessary to rate how each captain performed on the biggest stage of T20 cricket.
So, here are the COC Captain’s Ratings for the IPL 2018
(All stats updated till May 31, 2018)
MS DHONI (CSK) – 10/10
(5 on captaincy, 5 on performance)
The wait of two years was a long one, but finally, it ended with CSK signing back MS Dhoni to lead them before the start of IPL 2018. CSK was returning back into the fold and brought back their trusted leader and put faith in him.
Dhoni was involved in the auction process as well, giving the officials his preferred players to be bought in the auction. Dhoni led brilliantly from the front scoring 455 runs with a strike rate of 150.66 and a best of 79*. He also man managed the team very astutely as most of the players were well above 30 and carrying some niggles and he knew how much work he could take out of each of them.
His own good performance helped with his confidence and it was seen on his on-field enthusiasm as he knew these might be some of the best moments to experience, now that he is in the twilight of his career and he was seen enjoying every bit of it.
KANE WILLIAMSON (SRH) – 9/10
(4 on captaincy, 5 on performance)
Kane Williamson was bought by the SRH team in the auction and like the IPL season before this one, Williamson might have thought of playing a handful of matches with the presence of David Warner in the team.
However, with Warner getting suspended, SRH threw the captaincy hat on Williamson and Williamson led from the front, scoring 735 runs in 17 matches including the best of 84 and scored 8 fifties. He was also astute with his captaincy and field placing and you knew you were seeing something special every time he walked out to bat.
However, he might admit that the performance of his team tapered when it mattered the most and bowlers’ inability to defend targets during the last few matches hurt them and CSK outplayed them in the final. But it was a satisfying tournament for Williamson, the batsman, as he showed that batsmen with proper technique can play any format.
DINESH KARTHIK (KKR) – 8/10
(3 on captaincy, 5 on performance)
Dinesh Karthik was bought by KKR amidst much fanfare and with Gambhir gone, Karthik along with Uthappa was the front-runner for the position of leadership; and KKR gave the leadership to Karthik based on his previous captaincy experience in FC cricket and IPL.
Karthik was very good at handling the limited resources he had and took the team to the playoffs. With the bat, Karthik scored 498 runs with a best of 147.77 and played the role of a finisher very well for his team. Captaincy wise, he was good but lacked the killing instinct to finish the matches with dominance and sometimes let the situations get out of his hand, instead of taking initiatives.
AJINKYA RAHANE (RR) – 4/10
(2 on captaincy, 2 on performance)
Ajinkya Rahane was made the captain in place of suspended Steve Smith by Rajasthan Royals. Royals had retained Rahane using the RTM card in the auction and he was one of the front-runners to be the captain before Smith was announced formally.
Rahane was found wanting on all aspects of the game in this IPL. Though he has had a very good IPL career, including a century to his name; his strike rate of around 120, which was a good one in previous few editions of IPL, proved to be highly inadequate.
And the main problem of RR batting was their inability to make runs quickly in the middle overs of the tournament from 6-14. The team’s momentum stalled in these overs and despite Rahane still there, many times RR failed to chase even the par total. Captaincy wise too, he lacked the skills to make necessary bowling changes when needed and didn’t put pressure on the opposition when they were struggling.
ROHIT SHARMA (MI) – 5/10
(3 on captaincy, 2 on performance)
Rohit Sharma was supposed to defend his IPL crown this season, but it seemed like his mind was on something else. The whole Mumbai Indians team looked out of sorts in this tournament, losing at least three games in the last over and crashing out of the tournament in the league stage.
Rohit was unable to rescue the team with his bat also, scoring just 286 runs in 14 matches with a best of 94 against RCB. He was found wanting against some quality fast bowling and his reluctance to open the innings saw Suryakumar Yadav doing the job.
As a captain, Rohit was unable to stop the series of losses in the last over and continued with Mustafizur Rahman in those overs despite him being unable to defend totals. He lacked the innovativeness needed to inspire his team and though they tried a comeback to make it into the playoffs, without their captain performing, MI was left to rue missed chances.
VIRAT KOHLI (RCB) – 6/10
(3 on captaincy, 3 on performance)
Virat Kohli saw yet another miserable year for RCB in the IPL. Though the team had all the ammunition it needed to be successful, including some very good fast bowlers to boot for, the team just couldn’t gel together and had to scramble to make it to the top four, and failed to do so.
Kohli scored 530 runs in 14 matches with a best of 92* and captained well enough, but his players failed to execute his plans to the tee. Kohli can also be held guilty for sometimes letting the opponents get away with his indecisiveness at crucial junctures. However, it was a long season for the RCB captain internationally and more than anything; it was the fatigue that took a toll on him.
RCB were left to rue the chances they missed to take advantage off in close situations and also the fact that they couldn’t make their home ground a fortress where they could win matches with ease.
RAVICHANDRAN ASHWIN (KXIP) – 6/10
(3 on captaincy, 3 on performance)
R Ashwin was made the KXIP captain by Virender Sehwag amidst much curiosity and Ashwin promised an unpredictable brand of captaincy during the league. He delivered on that unpredictable part of the statement, as no one would have thought that a team that won 5 matches in the initial part of the tournament would lose close to 6 in the later part when wins were of utmost importance.
Basically, Ashwin put the onus of making runs on his top two batsmen in Rahul and Gayle and was buoyed by the cameos of the 20s and 30s by middle-order batsmen like Nair and Agarwal. But in the later stages of the tournament, Gayle started to fail and those cameos became insufficient for KXIP to put up a good total on the board. With foreign players like Stoinis and Finch failing to contribute, KXIP became a sinking ship in the last stages of IPL 2018.
Ashwin, on his part, gave chances to everyone to succeed and Afghan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman can be counted as a success, as he bowled superbly in the power play overs. Ashwin took 10 wickets in this tournament and was successful at times to stem the flow of runs.
SHREYAS IYER (DD) -5/10
(2 on captaincy, 3 on performance)
Delhi Daredevils had a horror season with a relatively new squad and under new coach Ricky Ponting. They started off well under Gautam Gambhir, but then came the avalanche of defeats that saw Gambhir not only stepping down from captaincy, but also losing his spot in the playing XI. Hence, we are unable to rate Gambhir on both his performance as captain and as a player.
23-year-old Shreyas Iyer was given the onus of captaincy and the young turk looked out of sorts under pressure to get the team on winning track. DD kept losing and was the first team to be eliminated from the race of playoffs. However, they won a few matches down the road to spoil the parties of teams like Mumbai Indians, who needed a win against DD in their last match to make it into the playoffs.
Iyer scored 411 runs in 14 matches with a best of 93*, an innings of substance and elegance. However, with only him, Shaw and Pant shouldering the batting, DD never looked to threaten their opponents; adding to that the weak bowling lineup they had, DD didn’t stand a chance to even make a comeback in the tournament.