The 14th edition of Indian Premier League is just few days away and all the franchises have finally announced their captains for the upcoming season. While most of the sides have retained their original skippers, Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Capitals have appointed youngsters Sanju Samson and Rishabh Pant, respectively, as their captains for IPL 2021.
With these announcements, we finally have the list of all the 8 captains who will lead their sides this season. However, a very surprising fact has come out which signifies a unique commonality that all the captains share with each other. Interestingly, all the leaders in IPL 2021 have donned the wicketkeeping gloves at some point in their career.
1. MS Dhoni
CSK skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is undoubtedly one of the greatest wicketkeepers of all time. The 39-year-old has inflicted 829 dismissals behind the stumps in his glittering international career. Thala is also the most successful gloveman in IPL history with 148 dismissals (109 catches and 39 stumpings) to his name, playing for Chennai Super Kings and Rising Pune Supergiant.
2. KL Rahul
The captain of Punjab Kings is someone who can do anything and everything for the team. Whether it is his national side or franchise, the 28-year-old opener is a great asset for his side due to his ability to keep wickets. He has kept wickets for both Royal Challengers Bangalore (2018) and Punjab Kings (2020) in IPL and is expected to don the gloves once again this season.
3. Sanju Samson
The newly-appointed skipper for Rajasthan Royals is one of the most talented wicketkeepers in the country. Samson has taken over the leadership duties from Steve Smith after the Aussie was released ahead of IPL 2021. While the 26-year-old has often been seen fielding when Buttler is in side, it is expected that the new responsibility might propel Samson to keep wickets throughout IPL 2021.
4. Rishabh Pant
In one of the most exciting captaincy appointments ahead of IPL 2021, India's wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant has been handed the leadership responsibilities of Delhi Capitals in absence of injured Shreyas Iyer. The 23-year-old has been associated with the franchise since 2016 and has 54 dismissals (43 catches, 11 stumpings) to his name in IPL.
5. David Warner
SRH skipper David Warner is a true all-rounder, who entertains the fans on and off the field. However, he is someone who has done-it-all in terms of cricket as well. Apart from his batting and bowling, the Aussie has also donned the wicketkeeping gloves in a Test match against Pakistan in 2014. After Brad Haddin had injured his shoulder, Warner took over the wicketkeeping role and even pulled off a catch off Starc's delivery.
6. Eoin Morgan
The world cup winning captain, who will lead Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2021, also has a history with wicketkeeping. After Matt Prior was struck down by a virus during 2009 Champions Trophy, Eoin Morgan had to put on the wicketkeeping gloves for England in two games against South Africa and New Zealand. The 34-year-old was quite impressive behind the stumps, inflicting a run-out while registering three catches as well.
7. Virat Kohli
The charismatic leader of Royal Challengers Bangalore has also had the privilege of standing behind the stumps. Virat Kohli put on the gloves in an ODI match against Bangladesh in 2015 for 1-2 overs as MS Dhoni had to go to the washroom. The 32-year-old had later revealed that it was not an easy task to keep wickets, especially with someone like Umesh Yadav bowling at such pace.
8. Rohit Sharma
MI skipper Rohit Sharma is the only captain in the list who has never kept wickets for his side. However, Hitman does have a history of donning the gloves during an international match. In the fourth Test between India and Australia in 2021, the 33-year-old put on the wicketkeeping gloves and posed after Pant had a slight injury while keeping. Rishabh was fit enough to continue which denied Hitman an opportunity to do some glovework.
While MS Dhoni, KL Rahul, Sanju Samson and Rishabh Pant will take over both wicketkeeping and captaincy duties in IPL 2021, it will be extremely interesting to see if the other 4 skippers (David Warner, Eoin Morgan, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma) are called upon once again to stand behind the stumps.