This IPL 2021 is seeing as many as 4 keepers who are not only the star batsman of their side but also the captain of the squad. Out of 8 teams, 4 teams will be captained by a keeper-cum-batsman. And they are MS Dhoni of CSK, KL Rahul of Punjab Kings, Sanju Samson of Rajasthan Royals, and Rishabh Pant of Delhi Capitals.
But donning three hats is not an easy job – something that Dhoni has done so successfully for India and CSK across 13 seasons of IPL.
Cricwizz lists down the good, bad, and ugly of being such a player.
The good side
Being a keeper-captain gives you better control over field placements as you have a full view of the field. You also read an opposition player more accurately and can pass on the information to the bowler who can in return pick up wickets. This is something Dhoni has done so brilliantly over the years as Indian and CSK captain.
Rahul is learning the tricks of the trade for the last few seasons, while Samson and Pant are trainees this season. This position helps you control the game better, and shift the momentum in their favor.
Here is MS Dhoni’s record as captain in IPL
Also, being the star batsman and plus a captain means a lot rests on you. This could bring out the best in you, as you are not only the best batsman but the leader as well. Post Dhoni’s success, Rahul has done brilliantly as keeper-cum-batsman-cum-captain. And Pant and Samson have started well in IPL so far.
Overall, the perks of casting three roles give you complete ownership of the team, and that allows you and your team to play as a group for better results. For instance, 4 titles out of 13 have been won by keeper-cum-batsman-cum-captain.
The bad side
Well, it’s not easy to give justice to all three roles. The element of fatigue may creep in. Keeping for 20 overs, and then leading the innings or vice versa could have an effect on keeping, and batting. Not everyone could be Dhoni.
But Rahul has shown he can do it without much of a hassle. And Samson too showed that in the 4-run loss to Kings Punjab when he slammed a brilliant 119. But doing it day in, day out could lead to mental fatigue, and that could hurt the team’s chance.
Besides, every move is monitored. A dropped catch, a missed stumping, or a poor dismissal could haunt the player, and hamper self-belief. And if his batting and keeping suffer, it would boil down to critics baying for the blood of the captain-cum-batsman-cum-keeper.
The ugly side
There have been instances of the three roles hampering individual performances and leading to poor team results. Kumar Sangakkara has gone through it when he was dropped as Deccan Chargers captain in the 2012 edition. But earlier, in 2009, keeper-captain Adam Gilchrist had led Deccan Chargers to victory. Hence, it all boils down to individual keeper-captain.
Here’s how the two fare as captain-cum-keeper-batsman in IPL.
Also, a captain-batsman-keeper may be leading the batting charts, but it would not mean success to the team. Something that Rahul has gone through for the last couple of seasons.
Yes, playing all three roles is indeed challenging as there is a risk of injury or mental fatigue due to work overload, and eventually hampering the player’s performance, leading to downhill of the team’s campaign in the league.
Note: Stats till April 17, 2021
Cover Credits: IPLT20