A few pointers are unmistakable about the role of captaincy in Twenty20. The Royal Challengers Bangalore’s rise began the day Anil Kumble got on the saddle. Sachin Tendulkar’s runs alone are not his contribution to the Mumbai Indians — he has nudged Saurabh Tiwary and Ambati Rayudu into playing crucial hands. Rajasthan Royals, with practically no star, have quietly moved into fifth spot under the inspiring Shane Warne.
Conversely, those teams stuck in the mire stunningly have leadership issues. The Delhi Daredevils and the Chennai Super Kings have been derailed by injuries to their regular captains, Gautam Gambhir and M.S. Dhoni.
Sourav Ganguly and Kumar Sangakkara need no introduction. Both are left-handers and captains of the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Kings XI Punjab. Ganguly had been an inspirational leader of Team India, while Sangakkara is arguably the best wicketkeeper-batsman in the world. Yet, the two have dithered from taking some obvious decisions to stem the rot.
Both the KKR and the Kings XI have skirted the issue of ruthless selection. Ganguly must not hesitate from dropping himself down the order to number five or six. His experience there is invaluable. He has had his moments — like that brilliant catch against MI— but he is clearly batting from memory.
The Kings XI are living out a nightmare. Quite a few in their top order, including Yuvraj, haven’t delivered. Some ruthless measures need be taken.
Both the Knight Riders and the Kings XI must quickly reverse the trend. The Knight Riders have consistently been a very popular outfit but performance-wise, they have been consistently abysmal. The Kings XI doesn’t look a very happy side on the field and it’s reflected in the results. The Delhi Daredevils too appear heavily reliant on the big names. It’s obvious the squads with better team culture are doing better in this IPL. Stars alone aren’t enough to carry a side. It’s about combinations and team spirit.