David Warner could be awarded the opportunity to lead a team once again in the Indian T20 League as Team Delhi look set to confirm the Australian star as their captain for the tournament starting on March 31. South Africa’s Aiden Makram will replace Kane Williamson as the captain of Team Hyderabad, as the franchise decided to bestow the captaincy on an overseas player. Shikhar Dhawan will replace Mayank Agarwal as the captain of Team Punjab, with all the other franchises retaining their captains from the last season.
As the preparations for the Indian T20 League 2023 tournament ramp up, here’s a look at all the captains of the ten franchises in the league:
Team Chennai: Mahendra Singh Dhoni
India’s veteran batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni will lead Team Chennai for the final time this season, as he looks forward to retiring from the sport in front of his home fans at the Chepauk Stadium. Mahendra Singh Dhoni was appointed as the captain of the franchise in its inaugural edition itself and has led the team to four Indian T20 League trophies since then. The 41-year-old has led Team Chennai in a record 210 games, boasting a win rate of 58.85%.
Barring a short break from the captaincy last season, Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s position as the captain of the team has been undisputed. When Ravindra Jadeja took over the captaincy duties from the veteran last season, Team Chennai had faltered in the league, losing six of their first eight matches. This has led to the franchise reappointing ‘Captain Cool’, with the team looking at a difficult transition post his retirement next season.
Team Delhi: David Warner
Team Delhi received a big blow to their plans for the 2023 edition of the Indian T20 League when their captain Rishabh Pant got into an accident earlier this year. While the team’s hunt for a suitable wicketkeeper to replace the 25-year-old continues, the franchise will likely award the captaincy duties to Australia’s David Warner. The Australian star is the third-highest run-scorer in the history of the Indian T20 League, accumulating 5,881 runs in 162 games.
David Warner also has the experience of successfully leading a team in the Indian T20 League, taking Team Hyderabad to its maiden title victory in 2016. While the 36-year-old is going through a lean patch in Test cricket, he is expected to find his form back in the T20 format.
Team Mumbai: Rohit Sharma
India’s skipper Rohit Sharma will once again lead Team Mumbai in the upcoming season, as the five-time champions look to get back to their winning ways. Both Team Chennai and Team Mumbai had a forgettable season last year, with Rohit Sharma’s men managing to win just four of their 14 games, finishing at the bottom of the table with just eight points.
While there is no threat to Rohit Sharma’s captaincy position at Team Mumbai, another underwhelming performance could force the management to make changes in the dressing room.
Team Kolkata: Shreyas Iyer
Team Kolkata fared badly in the last edition of the Indian T20 League, losing five straight games in the middle of the tournament to drop to a sixth-place finish. However, the management has reposed their faith in Shreyas Iyer to lead the team once again this season. The 28-year-old ended the tournament as the team’s top run-scorer with 401 runs.
Team Gujarat: Hardik Pandya
Unsurprisingly, Hardik Pandya will lead Team Gujarat in the Indian T20 League as the young franchise kickstart their quest to defend their title. Team Gujarat took the Indian T20 League 2022 by storm, winning 10 out of their 14 league games and comprehensively winning both of their knockout stage games. Hardik Pandya has been at the forefront of Team Gujarat’s stellar performance last season, as the 29-year-old smashed 487 runs with the bat and took eight wickets in the tournament.
With Hardik Pandya primed to take over Team India’s captaincy in the shortest format of the game, his performance as captain of Team Gujarat will be closely followed by the Selection Committee.
Team Lucknow: KL Rahul
KL Rahul will lead Team Lucknow in their second season in the tournament, with the young franchise enjoying a successful debut last year. Team Lucknow finished third in the table last season, winning nine of their 14 games under KL Rahul’s captaincy. The Indian opener scored 616 runs in 15 games last season, with an average of 51.33 and a strike rate of 135.38.
Despite doubts surrounding his inclusion in India’s Test squad, KL Rahul is a valuable player in the Indian T20 League, consistently featuring at the top of highest run-scorer lists in the past few years.
Team Punjab: Shikhar Dhawan
Team Punjab made yet another change at the helm ahead of the 2023 Indian T20 League season, appointing Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan as the team’s captain. He will replace Mayank Agarwal, under whose stewardship Team Punjab had a moderately successful campaign last year. Shikhar Dhawan was the top-scorer for Team Punjab last season, accumulating 460 runs at a strike rate of 122.67.
Shikhar Dhawan will be the 14th player to lead Team Punjab in the Indian T20 League – a problem that the franchise has yet to find a solution to.
Team Bangalore: Faf Du Plessis
Faf du Plessis took over the captaincy of Team Bangalore from Virat Kohli last season, and will once again lead the team in 2023. Team Bangalore’s fortunes did not change under the South African player, with the team once again failing to make it to the finals of the tournament. A veteran of Team Chennai, Faf du Plessis was able to handle the difficult job of transitioning the team from Virat Kohli’s captaincy last season.
Team Rajasthan: Sanju Samson
Sanju Samson has been retained as captain of Team Rajasthan, with the 28-year-old leading the franchise all the way to the finals of the tournament last year. A veteran of Team Rajasthan, Sanju Samson is the all-time leading run-scorer for the team, surpassing Ajinkya Rahane’s record last season.
Team Hyderabad: Aiden Markram
After falling out with both David Warner and Kane Williamson over the last two seasons, Team Hyderabad have turned to South Africa’s Aiden Markram to lead their team in the Indian T20 League 2023. The franchise picked up the 28-year-old for ₹2.6 crores in the auction last year. He scored 81 runs at an average of 47.63 for the Orange Army last season.
This will be Aiden Markram’s first stint as a captain in the Indian T20 League, with his captaincy of Sunrisers Eastern Cape to the inaugural SA20 title in Johannesburg bolstering his credentials to lead the team.
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