The Indian Premier League (IPL) is arguably the most entertaining franchise cricket tournament the world has ever seen. Since its inception in 2008, fans have been hooked on the high-octane cricketing action and things have only gotten better as the years rolled by.
Several teams have been crowned champions and several captains have led their sides to IPL glory on more than one occasion. To ascertain who is the best captain in IPL is a difficult task as the candidates are numerous, and all are legends of the sport.
Who are the IPL-winning captains?
The first two editions of the IPL were not won by teams who had an Indian captain at the top. Rather, it was the Aussies who initially emerged victorious as captains.
In 2008, Rajasthan Royals (RR) became the first franchise to ever win the competition. The late great Shane Warne was the skipper on that occasion as the Royals dispatched the Chennai Super Kings (CSK).
The second edition was won by the Deccan Chargers (DC), a team that was captained by legendary Aussie wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist. The Chargers defeated a Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) team that had a certain Virat Kohli in their ranks, who was just learning the ropes at the time.
David Warner is the only other overseas captain to have won the IPL as he led the SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) to victory in 2016.
When one thinks of an Indian captain, the first name that comes to mind is MS Dhoni. The former Indian number 7 has done it all when it comes to world cricket, from winning the T20 World Cup in 2007 to the 50-over world cup in 2011.
Dhoni’s IPL statistics are just as impressive as those in international cricket. He has been a part of CSK since the very beginning of the competition, barring two years when the franchise was not part of the tournament. Thala, as he is called by the CSK fans, has led the team to four IPL victories.
Dhoni won the 2010 and 2011 editions of the competition and looked set to make a hat-trick of IPL wins, but that was until Gautam Gambhir took charge of the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). The men in purple had always been a team that had, until that point, underperformed despite having a strong squad on paper. 2012 saw Gambhir come in and instill his philosophy in the players. Against all odds, at a hostile Chepauk Stadium in Chennai, the Knight Riders beat the Super Kings to win their first-ever IPL title, and Gambhir’s fearless decision-making and tenacious mentality played a part.
Gambhir wasn’t done yet as just two years later, at the iconic Wankhede Stadium, KKR lifted their second IPL trophy. This solidified Gambhir’s place as one of the greatest IPL captains in the tournament’s history.
When it comes to how many times a captain has won the IPL, Rohit Sharma stands head and shoulders above everyone else. Sharma is the captain of the Mumbai Indians (MI) and has won the title five times so far in his stint. The men in blue won their first title in 2013 and there has been no turning back since. Mumbai has arguably been the most consistent franchise alongside Chennai in the IPL and it is all thanks to Rohit Sharma’s ability to take the right decisions when the team is under pressure. With five titles to his name, it is difficult to argue against him in the debate of who is the best captain in the IPL.
The last captain to have won the IPL is a new face for a new franchise. The Gujarat Titans (GT) is a team that was formed in 2022 and after a scintillating season, they were successful in their very first attempt under the captaincy of Hardik Pandya. It might still be early days but one can say that Hardik has the ability and the years ahead of him to rise to the likes of Dhoni and Sharma and cement his name in the pantheon of great Indian captains in the IPL.
Here is a list of the captains with the most IPL titles:
|Number of IPL titles
|Chennai Super Kings
|Kolkata Knight Riders
Who has the highest win percentage as captain?
Apart from winning titles, what makes someone a great captain anywhere in sports today is their win percentage. Win percentage means the number of matches a captain has won leading their team. The win percentage statistics do not necessarily have to coincide with title victories as there are a lot of elements in play, for example, the longevity of tenure. A player who has spent only two seasons as captain might have a higher win percentage than one who has been the skipper for five. It all depends on how many matches a player has won as a skipper during his tenure as the captain.
Rohit Sharma might have the most number of IPL titles but that does not put him at the top of the list when it comes to winning percentages. The MI skipper is second with 79 wins in 143 matches and a win percentage of 56.64%. The man at the top of the table is none other than MS Dhoni. The great Indian skipper has won 123 matches out of 210 and holds a win percentage of 58.85%.
Here is a list of the top five IPL-winning captains with the highest win percentages:
To sum it all up
No matter what statistics one puts forth, it truly is a tough ask to choose one best captains in the IPL. There have been captains who have won more matches than anyone and there have been captains who have won more titles than anybody. There have also been skippers who, despite having the odds stacked against them, proved everyone wrong and won the tournament, which some would say is just as impressive an achievement as winning multiple titles.
However, if a decision has to be made, it would be MI skipper Rohit Sharma. Not only has he won more IPL titles than anybody, but he also has a high win percentage. Rohit is a force to be reckoned with when he has the bat in hand and is also a fine fielder, which makes him an asset for any team to have.
Q: Who has won the IPL more than anyone as a captain?
A: Rohit Sharm with five title wins with Mumbai Indians
Q: Who was the first captain to win the IPL?
A: Shane Warne won the first edition of the IPL in 2008 as captain of the Rajasthan Royals
Q: Who has won the most number of matches as captain in the IPL?
A: MS Dhoni has won more matches than anyone as Chennai Super Kings captain with 123 wins from 210 matches as of 2022