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Marshalling them to glory

ESPNcricinfo staff
Most of India's senior pros over the years feature among IPL's most successful captains, along with a duo from Down Under

Virat Kohli's captaincy took Royal Challengers to their first IPL final in six seasons © BCCI

10. Yuvraj Singh - Kings XI Punjab, Pune Warriors (M 43, W 21, L21, NR 1; Win % - 59)

Yuvraj led Kings XI Punjab to the semi-final in the inaugural season of the IPL, after a late surge in which they won 9 out of 10 games at a stretch. The next season saw them struggle to maintain consistent form, due to a spate of injuries and unavailability of their Australian stars. After failing to qualify for the semi-finals, Yuvraj was replaced by Kumar Sangakkara as captain for the next season. As captain of Warriors, he experienced his worst season as captain, managing to win only 4 games out of 14.

9. Virat Kohli - Royal Challengers Bangalore (M 72, W 37, L32, NR 3; Win % - 51)

Ahead of the 2011 season, Kohli was the only Royal Challengers player to be retained, signaling the management's intent to hold on to him in the long-term. He first took up captaincy duties in the absence of Daniel Vettori in the 2012 season, in which they lost out on a play-off berth on Net Run Rate. Subsequent seasons have seen gradual improvement, culminating in a runner-up finish in 2016, their best in five seasons.

8. Virender Sehwag - Delhi Daredevils (M 52, W 28, L 24; Win % - 54)

Sehwag's captaincy stretched across two fairly successful periods for his side - first in 2008 and parts of 2009, before taking up duties in 2011 and 2012. He led his side to two semi-finals and one play-off, which remain their most successful seasons to date. During this period, he played a crucial role in the development of players like David Warner, about whom he famously predicted that he would do far better in Tests than in T20s. Sehwag would be much higher up on this list, if not for a disastrous 2011 season in which Delhi finished last in the league phase.

7. David Warner - Delhi Daredevils, Sunrisers Hyderabad (M 33, W 18, L 15; Win % - 55)

Warner captained Delhi in just two games during his final season with them, losing both of them en route to his side's wooden spoon finish in the league phase. After being appointed Sunrisers captain, Warner has had his two best IPL seasons yet, finishing as the tournament's highest scorer in 2015, followed by leading his side to their maiden IPL title in 2016.

Shane Warne and Sachin Tendulkar both feature on the list of IPL's ten most successful captains © AFP

6. Shane Warne - Rajasthan Royals (M 55, W 30, L 24; Win % - 56)

Often referred to by his teammates and former cricketers, including the likes of Ian Chappell and Michael Clarke as the "best captain Australia never had", Warne showed the world why they were right during his time as captain of Rajasthan Royals. From "Rockstar" RavindraJadeja and "Goa Cannon" Swapnil Asnodkar to "Tornado" Kamran Khan, it is impossible to overstate his impact on youngsters in a side he simultaneously coached. Their triumph in 2008, ahead of more fancied rivals with far greater superstar quality, is the closest the IPL has had to a Moneyball moment till date.

5. Gautam Gambhir - Delhi Daredevils, Kolkata Knight Riders (M 107, W 61, L 45; Win % - 57)

Gambhir led Delhi in Sehwag's absence during the 2009 season in South Africa, leading them to their second consecutive semi-final. He followed it up with his first full season of leadership in 2010, in which they narrowly missed qualifying from the league phase. However, he has truly come on to his own at Kolkata Knight Riders, who have turned to him as a stable, long-term leader, replacing Sourav Ganguly. In this period, they have won two IPL titles under his aggressive captaincy, while also taking his batting form a few notches higher.

4. Anil Kumble - Royal Challengers Bangalore (M 26, W 15, L 11; Win % - 58)

Initially mocked for being assembled like a Test side, Royal Challengers truly found their mojo under Anil Kumble in the second season, when he led them to a runners-up finish in the absence of captain Kevin Pietersen. It was a season in which he also ended up as the tournament's 2nd highest wicket-taker, at an economy rate of just 5.86. He followed it up with another run to the semi-final in 2010, after which he announced his retirement from the IPL.

3. MS Dhoni - Chennai Super Kings, Rising Pune Supergiant (M 143, W 83, L 59, NR 1; Win % - 58)

In terms of silverware and consistency, Dhoni is right up there at the top among IPL's captains. For eight straight seasons, he led Super Kings to the knockout phase, winning the tournament twice and finishing runners-up on an incredible four other occasions. In partnership with Stephen Fleming, Dhoni led a Super Kings side which was among the most feared sides in the competition, irrespective of the conditions and opposition. His fortunes with Rising Pune Supergiant, though, have been anything but, as they finished 7th in their only season in the tournament so far.

Mumbai are among IPL's most successful sides, a statistic that reflects on their captains © BCCI

2. Rohit Sharma - Mumbai Indians (M 58, W 34, L 24; Win % - 59)

Rohit Sharma took over captaincy duties after Ricky Ponting's slump in form during the 2013 season, after which he led them to the title despite early setbacks. They followed it up by reaching the play-offs in the next season, before going on to win the title again in 2015. It was a remarkable season, in which they won 9 out of their last 10 games to regain the trophy. Apart from these, Sharma has also led them to a Champions League title in 2013, putting him on par with Dhoni on the silverware stakes.

1. Sachin Tendulkar - Mumbai Indians (M 51, W 30, L 21; Win % - 59)

The IPL's statistically most successful captain is a man who had mixed luck captaining his country across two tenures. In the IPL, despite not qualifying out of the league phase during his first two seasons, Sachin led them to 19 wins from 28 league games. His stand out season came in 2010, when he had a stellar run with the bat, amassing 618 runs from 14 innings, as Mumbai finished runners-up after losing to Chennai Super Kings in the final. Tendulkar was named Player of the Tournament and Best Captain for that season, after which he led them to the play-offs once again in 2011.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • JP_the_genius on March 24, 2017, 13:45 GMT

    Why Gilly is missing? Perhaps, his Punjab results were very poor!

  •   Aakash9999 on March 19, 2017, 13:13 GMT

    Gilly is missing...!! One of the best captains Deccan chargers had...

  •   cricfan77214033 on March 19, 2017, 2:02 GMT

    I don't agree Sachin Tendulkar as a good captain.

  • p0tta on March 18, 2017, 18:34 GMT

    Rohit would have been the best captain for Team India too but that was not meant to be :/

  • Santosh5al on March 18, 2017, 7:29 GMT

    one more reason why sachin was not a bad captain...but ind were poor in 90's

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