Indian cricket team captain listIndian cricket has been blessed to have had the captains it has, from 1932 to 2018. And the above statement is with keeping in mind the fact that this country has a wealth of cricketing talent who vie for 15 precious spots in the national side. So, if going on to play for the national cricket team is on its own an achievement and a matter of pride, imagine how much of an honour and prestige is being made India captain.

Cottari Kanakaiya Naidu (CK Naidu) was India’s first cricket captain having led India in their first-ever Test match in 1932 against England. He went on to lead India in only four Tests, drawing one and losing three.

The reason I say Indian Cricket has been blessed to have had the captains they have is, without their ability to spot, nurture and allow a talent to realise its full potential, you will not have seen the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Rohit Sharma, and Ravindra Jadeja, to name a few, make the country proud and bewitch you almost every time they take the field of play.

When Tendulkar was just 14, a certain Dilip Vengsarkar brought him into the mix by getting the then prodigy to have a net session with the other members of the national team. And a couple of decades later, MS Dhoni started investing in Rohit (international debut in 2008) and Jadeja (international debut in 2009), who’ve become assets for India across all three formats. Similarly, Ajinkya Rahane is no less of a captain in spotting talent (Kuldeep Yadav, 2017) and not hesitating to hand him a Test debut in a crunch match.

The way Rahane utilised Kuldeep was also laudable: David Warner and Steve Smith had driven Australia to 120/1 and were scoring at four runs per over. But the introduction of this left-arm chinaman spinner turned the match and indeed this epic series on its head. Three overs into his spell, Kuldeep picked up his first Test wicket (Warner) and more importantly, bowled a defining spell in the post-lunch session, dismissing Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb and Glenn Maxwell. This utilisation of a debutant was a captaincy masterstroke indeed!

Considering a factor as the one mentioned above, captains tend to be successful in different ways and each one of them is defined uniquely.

For instance, despite being the only captain till date to have won every major trophy (ICC World Twenty20, ICC Cricket World Cup, the ICC Champions Trophy, and the IPL titles), Dhoni’s captaincy record in Tests outside the sub-continent is poor. In 28 overseas Tests (those played in Australia, England, New Zealand, and South Africa) as India captain, Dhoni won just 4, lost 15 and drew 9. And though I mean no disrespect to the former Indian captain, Dhoni managed to win only two overseas Test series, in New Zealand in 2009 and in the West Indies in 2011.

But only under Dhoni’s tenure as skipper, India gained a pool of genuine fast bowlers like Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who are likely to be the pillars of future overseas Test wins for India under Virat Kohli, the current captain.

With win percentages of 55.00 in ODIs and 59.28 T20Is, MS Dhoni is India’s best and most successful captain so far in the limited-overs formats. Kohli has done a remarkable job since assuming India’s Test captaincy in June 2015. He has, as captain, won 19 of the 29 Tests, drawing seven and losing just three. But the ultimate test for him and the current Indian side is winning Tests abroad. (Suhith Kumar)