New Delhi: Last Thursday evening, a press release from the Pune Warriors India franchise announced that Sri Lankan allrounder Angelo Mathews would lead the team in IPL 6. Thus, Mathews became the fourth man to captain Pune in two seasons, following Yuvraj Singh, Sourav Ganguly and Steven Smith. Interestingly, Mathews was not even the first choice for the 2013 season, but was zeroed in on after Michael Clarke was ruled out of the league through injury.
Thus, Mathews became the third Sri Lankan to captain an IPL team this season, following the appointment of Mahela Jayawardene as captain of Delhi Daredevils for 2013 and Kumar Sangakkara getting the nod to lead Sunrisers Hyderabad. Sangakkara, a former Sri Lanka captain, had earlier led Kings XI Punjab and Deccan Chargers.
A cursory glance down the nine squads for IPL 6 reveals that there are four Indians who will captain IPL franchises in 2013. MS Dhoni is at the helm of affairs for Chennai Super Kings, Gautam Gambhir will lead current IPL champions Kolkata Knight Riders, Virat Kohli has been made full-time leader of Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rahul Dravid is captain-coach of Rajasthan Royals.
File photo of CSK captain MS Dhoni shaking hands with KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir. (AFP)
Aside from the three aforementioned Sri Lankans, Mumbai Indians have a new captain in Ricky Ponting, who was purchased at his base price of $400,000 at the February auction despite not having featured in the IPL since 2008. Adam Gilchrist, having last season publicly announced after KXIP were eliminated from IPL 5 that he had played his last IPL match, was surprisingly named in the Mohali franchise's roster during the off season and will again lead the side.
It can be argued that there is a tactic behind this, in that teams choose not to appoint foreign captains in order to have four overseas options to choose from, but more realistically it appears that there is dearth of capable Indian captains. In the cases of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, who have both led Mumbai and Delhi previously, the two batsmen have made it clear they don't want to be burdened with leadership.
Looking at the teams currently led by overseas players, there does not appear to be any strong Indian candidate for the captaincy. In the Delhi squad, after Sehwag there is no Indian player - internationally experienced or uncapped - who looks likely to lead a heavyweight IPL franchise. Ditto for Punjab. Hyderabad has two leading players with domestic captaincy experience in Shikhar Dhawan, who led Delhi in the 2012-13 Ranji Trophy, and Parthiv Patel who has captained Gujarat for several years. But the franchise has clearly put their efforts in obtaining Sangakkara, who has led Sri Lanka with distinction.
Which leads to the question: is there a dearth of skipper material when it comes to Indian players in the IPL?
Have your say: Do you think there is a lack of quality Indian options for IPL captaincy?