IPL 2021: Rohit Sharma, the undisputed king

James Jose/Dubai
Filed on April 9, 2021 | Last updated on April 9, 2021 at 01.05 am
Rohit Sharma. (BCCI)

MS Dhoni may be the ‘Thala,’ the superstar down south and enjoys ‘Rajnikant’ status in Chennai, but Sharma is the undisputed king of the Indian Premier League

Captaincy can be a double-edged sword — some make merry, while some wilt under the sheer weight of it. Rohit Sharma, though, seems to be revelling in it, and it’s as though he owns a magic wand where everything he touches turns to gold.

MS Dhoni may be the ‘Thala,’ the superstar down south and enjoys ‘Rajnikant’ status in Chennai, but Sharma is the undisputed king of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Carrying the baton from former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting, Sharma, the ‘Hitman’ has been delivering hit after hit. The Mumbaikar is the most successful captain in the IPL with an astonishing five titles with the Mumbai Indians, also the most by any franchise.

Sharma led the Mumbai Indians to the title in 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019 and last year, playing his 200th IPL fixture, added a fifth to the trophy cabinet.

Sharma also holds the sole ownership of six IPL titles, the most by any player, after he had won the first one with the now-defunct Deccan Chargers, under the stewardship of former Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist in 2009.

Sharma is also the first and only player to win IPL titles in three different countries. The 33-year-old had won the first one with the Deccan Chargers when the league was played in South Africa, owing to the general elections in India. The next four came with the Mumbai Indians in India, while the latest was in the UAE.

There is quite a bit of daylight between him and the next best and it surely has taken something more than special to beat the likes of MS Dhoni, whose captaincy and tactical acumen is all too well known.

MSD, the be all and end all at the Chennai Super Kings, is the second most successful skipper with three titles in 2010 and 2011 as well as in 2018.

But the success isn’t down to Sharma alone. The Mumbai Indians’ blueprint has involved creating and nurturing a crack outfit so much so that they have evolved down the years to achieving near invincible status.

“We said at the start we want to make winning a habit, and you couldn’t have asked any more from the guys,” Sharma had said after winning the 2020 IPL final against the Delhi Capitals at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Since taking over the reins in 2013, Sharma has captained the Mumbai Indians in 116 matches, emerging triumphant in 68 and losing 44, with four tied fixtures.

MS Dhoni has captained in the most number of matches — 188, winning 110 and tasting defeat in 77.

Former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir, who led the Kolkata Knight Riders to the title in 2012 and 2014, captained KKR and the Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals) in 129 fixtures, with a win-loss ratio of 71-57.

Current Indian skipper Virat Kohli, for whom an IPL title proves to be elusive, has led the Royal Challengers Bangalore in 125 matches, winning 55 and losing 63.

Australian triumvirate Shane Warne, Adam Gilchrist and David Warner have one title each with the Rajasthan Royals (2008), Deccan Chargers (2009) and the Sunrisers Hyderabad (2016), respectively.

With Delhi Capitals suffering an early setback following an injury to regular captain Shreyas Iyer, the franchise has installed wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant as skipper. The southpaw is a relative greenhorn, having captained Delhi in domestic cricket but the Delhi Capitals have taken an unusual punt based on his blistering form in the recent past that thrust Pant back into the reckoning in all three formats for India.

He has put the divided opinions to rest with his sparkling batting as well as his decent glovework and it now remains to be seen if Pant can turn the captaincy sword into a magic wand and finally take the Delhi Capitals over the line after their first-ever final last year.

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