International cricket is a demanding job. It requires a great amount of skill and diligence. However, in today’s day and age captaincy in international cricket is a different beast. The press, fans, and management make it incredibly difficult for the captain to breathe easy. The captain is held accountable for the team’s overall performance and sometimes the player cannot withstand that level of scrutiny. There have been instances in the past few months where players like Kohli and De Kock have given up captaincy in one format or the other.
IPL is not international cricket but the level of competition and standard of cricket is equivalent. Fans worldwide are greatly invested in their favorite franchises and every IPL game receives enormous media coverage.
Therefore, when a team does not perform up to the desired level, it could take a toll on the captain. There have been instances when franchises have replaced captains in the middle of the season due to the poor performance of the team. We shall look at 5 such instances.
1. Dinesh Karthik – Eoin Morgan 2020
In what surprised a lot of KKR fans, Karthik in the middle of the 2020 season was divested of his captaincy duties and it was given to Morgan. This case cannot be bracketed as one of poor performance of the incumbent captain since Karthik had led KKR to win 4 off 6 games under him. The move seemed to have backfired as Morgan could win only 3 games off the 8 games and they lost out on the play-offs. Under Morgan’s captaincy, KKR faced humiliating defeats against RCB and MI.
2. Ajinkya Rahane – Steve Smith 2019
In order to turn around their fortunes in 2019, Rajasthan Royals management handed the captaincy duties to Steve Smith which was previously being carried by Rahane. Off the 6 games that Smith captained, the Royals could only win 2 of them and failed to qualify for the knockouts. The franchise ranked a paltry 7th in that season. In 2020, Rahane was swapped with Delhi and it was the last year of Smith’s captaincy too.
3. Gautam Gambhir – Shreyas Iyer 2018
Gambhir who won KKR two titles in 2012 and 14 was released by them in 2018. However, Delhi picked him up as their captain. However, Gambhir was becoming a liability to the team’s batting. He managed to score just 55 runs in the 6 games he played at an average of 17. He took the call to drop himself and Iyer rose to become the captain. However, Iyer’s promotion hardly made any difference to the franchise that year which ended at the bottom.
4. Ricky Ponting – Rohit Sharma 2013
This could possibly have been Mumbai Indians’ most historic decision. The franchise changed forever after this decision. They were captained by Ponting at the start of 2013 but he managed only 52 runs in the 6 games he played. He too benched himself and handed the reigns to Sharma who turned the franchise and led them to their first title win. He also amassed 538 runs in 19 games. Rohit has continued to be their captain ever since.
5. David Warner- Kane Williamson 2021
Warner has been one of the most important architects of the SRH franchise. He has been their most run-getter in almost every season. Therefore, his drop of form in 2021 was concerning. Warner could not manage double-digit scores in most games and had to make way for Williamson to become the captain. However, the decline of the franchise has continued and it looks unlikely that this season they would qualify.