5 Best ‘Overseas’ Captains In IPL History: A captain is the face of a team, he/she represents the team’s values and attitude in the form of decisions on and off-field. Franchise owners look for an efficient leader before filling any other slot. The reason M.S.Dhoni has been a brand in the Indian Premier League (IPL) since the first edition when Chennai Superkings spent a whopping $1.5 million to get him, is his understanding of the game and brilliant leadership skills. A captain does not only act as a decision-maker but also is responsible for every player’s performance on the field.
“Bigger the stage, higher the stakes” which means a skipper plays a decent variable in deciding his/her side’s faith in the league. IPL has witnessed some more than awesome captainship with Rohit Sharma and M.S.Dhoni leading the charts with seven titles shared amongst them. While players like Virat Kohli who is the highest run-scorer of the league has disappointed fans as the Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper.
Although franchises prefer captains of Indian origin due to their vast local experience, some overseas players have made fantastic leaders. Following is a list of the 5 best overseas captains in IPL history:
1) Shane Warne
Another aggressive Aussie cricketer, Shane Warne’s leg-spin challenged the best batsman in the world, including the Indian great Sachin Tendulkar. After retiring from international cricket, Warne was chosen as Rajasthan Royals’ captain in 2008, the season he led the side to a memorable title win. He managed prolific players like Yusuf Pathan, Shane Watson and Graeme Smith as a captain cum coach. His inspirational leadership saw players like Pakistan’s Sohail Tanvir and South Africa’s Albie Morkel enjoy fearless cricket in IPL.
The Australian finished with a 55.45% win rate (30 wins in 54 matches). He left the side in the 2011 season.
2) Adam Gilchrist
The Australian in true sense invested all his energy on Indian raw talent during his term as a captain in Deccan Chargers and as a wicketkeeper-batsmen with Kings XI Punjab. He leads the Deccan Chargers to their maiden title in 2009 when they defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore in the finals.
The 48-year-old understood each player’s mindset and adapted accordingly. There are a very few wicketkeeper-batsman who can captain like Adam Gilchrist.
3) David Warner
Here’s Another Australian in the list, David Warner led the Sunrisers Hyderabad from 2015-2017. His tenure saw Hyderabad win their only IPL title in 2016.
David is not only a superlative opener but also faces all situations with equal gut and courage. He can be credited for bringing Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mustafizur Rehman on the bigger map. Warner is someone who leads the team by example.
4) Steven Smith
Not defending the ball-tampering charges against the former Australian captain but Steven Smith is a personification of more or less mature captaincy skills. He was named as the captain of the Rising Pune Supergiants (now extinct) when the franchise decided to free former Indian skipper Dhoni of that role.
Smith not only managed senior players including M.S. Dhoni and Faf du Plessis but also carried the team to the finals that season. RPS lost to Mumbai by one run in the last match. However, his leadership skills were something to laud upon that season.
5) Kane Williamson
The only Kiwi in the list is the 29-year-old Kane Williamson. He led Sunrisers during David Warner’s ban (2018 and 2019). Kane had big shoes to fill in 2018, but he didn’t hesitate for a moment and took this opportunity to compensate for the below-average seasons he had with the franchise earlier.
The right-handed batsman had managed the black caps for some time before he took on SRH’s captaincy and he made sure to put all experience to work leading his side into the playoffs in 2018. He maintained egos and conquered hearts at the same time.
Featured image source: DNA