The ninth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will see a lot of new things – several overseas players, a lot of new jerseys, new Indian cricketers who have been picked from relative obscurity to make a mark and probably provide more options to the Indian selectors, among others. This year we will also see two new teams – Gujarat Lions and Rising Pune Supergiants – taking the place of Rajasthan Royals, the first ever champions, and Chennai Super Kings, a team that has won the maximum IPLs. But the biggest surprise this year perhaps is a lot of new captains. As is expected in a tournament of IPL’s stature, there will be a lot of pressure on them to deliver irrespective of their experience. So, come – let’s meet the captains of IPL 9.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni
He has led the suspended Chennai Super Kings outfit for eight seasons and will now be leading the Rising Pune Supergiants. He said that leading a completely-new team like Rising Pune Supergiants will be a novel experience even for a veteran captain like him. He will have a good team to choose from, one that has an exceptionally-strong batting line up. Dhoni himself would be expected to lead from the front with lots of runs.
In spite of his tremendous experience in the IPL, Raina does not have much experience in leading a T20 outfit. However, it is expected that while leading Gujarat Lions he will bring his experience to the fore. Raina himself will be a key player with his lusty hitting and canny bowling in a team that has lots of allrounders.
Right now Kohli is the hottest property in Indian cricket. He has also led Royal Challengers Bangalore for a few seasons now, which could be seen as an advantage over relatively-new captains such as Raina. He also has a good team that boasts of the finest top order in the tournament along with some capable performers with the ball.
Gambhir may have lost his place in the Indian team but he is still a force to be reckoned with in Indian domestic cricket and will look to make it count in his capacity as the skipper of Kolkata Knight Riders. He has also been leading the Kolkata outfit since 2011, which will make things much easier for him. The team itself is a settled one with plenty of proven performers in this format.
Miller is one of the new captains in this year’s edition, having replaced George Bailey in the Kings XI Punjab hot seat. The South African is easily one of the most destructive batsmen around and this is the first time that he will be leading a team in any format. The team itself has some quality overseas imports who are expected to play a major role.
Zaheer Khan will be leading Delhi Daredevils. This will be Zaheer’s final foray into competitive cricket and his franchise has chosen to honour him with the captaincy. This will also be the first time that Zaheer will be captaining a team. Along with this inexperience, the fact that he is coming back from a career ending injury will mean that there is a lot of pressure on Zaheer to deliver. He will be further pressurized by the fact that his team does not have many tried and tested performers.
Rohit will be coming into the tournament as the champion of the 2015 edition. Personally Rohit is one of the finest batsmen in Indian cricket but his form coming into the tournament has not exactly been the best. Mumbai Indians, however, is a settled one with one of the best overseas bench strengths.
This is possibly the second year that Shikhar Dhawan will lead Sunrisers Hyderabad. As a cricketer Dhawan is one of the most explosive batters in India – a lot liken him, and justifiably so, to Virender Sehwag – but he is not a proven commodity as a captain in this format. The team itself is a formidable one though, with the first XI especially so.
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