Recently, Ravindra Jadeja left the captaincy of CSK mid-way in IPL 2022 to hand it back to MS Dhoni. Jadeja cited captaincy affecting his performance as the reason for leaving the role. Dhoni came back as the skipper to delight his fans. However, this is not the first time it has happened, and it will continue to be part of IPL folklore. Here are a few more examples of players leaving captaincy or being dropped mid-way during the IPL season.
In the 2013 IPL, Mumbai Indians had appointed Australian legend Ricky Ponting as the skipper for the tournament. Ponting opened with Sachin Tendulkar but could not strike form, and even the team could not win consistently under his leadership. He gave up captaincy and even his position in the XI for an in-form foreign player to take his place. Rohit Sharma, who has not led in any IPL games so far, was handed over the captaincy. Under his batting form and leadership, Mumbai went ahead and won their maiden IPL title that season, defeating CSK in the final. Rohit went on to win five titles out of five finals he led the team to the title round.
In the 2009 IPL, RCB had given the captaincy ropes to England star Kevin Pietersen even though the batsman won’t be available for the business end of the tournament due to international commitments. So, when Pietersen left IPL mid-way winning just 2 matches out of 6, RCB gave the captaincy to Anil Kumble. The former Indian leg-spinner led with aplomb, taking his team to the final, but lost the match by 6 runs. The wait for the RCB’s maiden title is still on.
Warner led SRH to their maiden title in the 2016 IPL, leading from the front with the bat. But in the 2021 IPL, his batting form deserted him, and the team went on a losing spree. Warner lost the ability to hit at a good pace, and his poor strike rate came to haunt him. Eventually, the management decided it was enough. They not only dropped him as the captain but also as a player. They handed the captaincy to Kane Williamson.
As SRH was already knocked out of the tournament, they decided to try out a few reserve players and told Warner he won’t be considered for any matches that season. Warner was seen cheering for SRH from the stands for the last few games. He then moved to Delhi Capitals in the 2022 season and slammed a match-winning fifty against his former team.
Gambhir led KKR to two IPL titles. But after failing to win a single title since 2014, KKR management decided not to retain Gambhir ahead of the 2018 auction. But KKR later said Gambhir himself asked not to be retained by the franchises. Gambhir was then bought by Delhi Daredevils, which is now called Delhi Capitals, at Rs 2.8 crore.
Gambhir had also played for Delhi in the earlier season, so it was a homecoming for him. But Gambhir’s form deserted him, and his captaincy as well. He could lead Delhi to only 1 win out of the first 6 games in the 2018 IPL, and Gambhir stepped down both as a captain and player, and never played another IPL game. He was replaced by Shreyas Iyer as the captain.