Should an IPL team be captained by an Indian player?
Some say the most capable person should be appointed to lead the team, irrespective of nationality. Others maintain an Indian player is better placed to motivate a team, comprising mainly compatriots, and being more familiar with ground conditions.
Kings XI Punjab made a big call this week and switched captaincy from David Miller, the big-hitting South African who has scored so many runs for them, to Murali Vijay, who has enjoyed success as captain of Tamil Nadu. In an ideal world, you would always retain the same leadership for the whole campaign.
The five-most successful captains in IPL history are Indians. Among those who have captained an IPL team in more than 15 matches, measured by win percentage, Gautam Gambhir stands in fifth place (with a win percentage of 55.79 from 93 matches at Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders). Anil Kumble lies fourth, having won 57.69% of his 26 matches as captain of Royal Challengers Bangalore. MS Dhoni is in third position, with a 59.09% win ratio from his impressive 139 matches as captain of Chennai Super Kings and Rising Pune Supergiants. Sachin Tendulkar takes the second place after winning 60.78% of the 51 matches as captain of Mumbai Indians between 2008 and 2011.
The most successful captain is Rohit Sharma, who led Mumbai on 44 occasions between 2013 and 2015, winning 27 matches and losing 17 times, finishing with an unmatched winning rate of 61.36%.
Shane Warne is the most successful international captain in the history of the league. The legendary Australian led Rajasthan Royals with great success in the first four seasons, winning 30 of his 55 matches, finishing with a respectable win percentage of 54.54%.
There is no simple answer because in elite sport the privilege of leadership generally falls on a group of players rather than an individual. An international player leading an IPL side will rely on the support of prominent local players in his team. The same way, an Indian player will benefit from positive engagement and willing inputs from international players.
Above all, in this frenetic competition, whatever his nationality, an IPL captain needs to stay calm in a crisis.
The writer is a RCB batsman