The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League finally came to an end on November 10 in Dubai, with Mumbai Indians (MI) being crowned as the winner for the fifth time. Now, even with around four-five months remaining before IPL 2021 commences, the cricket board of India is leaving no stones unturned to make up for the revenue loss in IPL 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
As per reports, the BCCI has plans to add a ninth team in IPL 2021 to increase the revenue and number of games simultaneously. If that happens, the challenge for the new team will be to form a solid core group and find a captain who can lead the team successfully.
Cricketbettingtips.io takes a look at seven players that can captain the 9th team in IPL 2021. For cricket fans looking to wager on the sport, we offer the best cricket betting tips and list cricket betting apps with the best odds and payouts.
Hailing from the Dombivli suburb of Mumbai, Ajinkya Rahane is India’s vice-captain and a regular feature in all the three formats. Rahane got to play his first international T20 match against England in 2011, where he scored a fluent 61 off 39 balls. The top-order batsman scored his first Test century against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve. In addition to this, he has been the captain of the Indian team in the fourth Test against Australia in 2017.
When it comes to the IPL, Ajinkya played for his native franchise Mumbai Indians in the initial years. But it wasn’t until his shift to Rajasthan Royals that Rahane started to show his consistency in the IPL. The 2012 season was his breakthrough year in the league, amassing 560 runs at a strike rate of 129.33. After this, Rahane continued cementing his position as one of the most consistent performers in tournament’s history.
In his 2020 season for Delhi Capitals, Rahane managed to get only 113 runs in 9 matches at a strike rate of 105.60. So, it’s very likely that DC might release him ahead of the mega auction as they have some better options available. He is known as a calm player and will surely add on to the value of the 9th IPL team, if added.
Ravichandran Ashwin came into the limelight with his street-smart exploits in the shorter format of the game, but since his Test debut against West Indies in 2011, Ashwin has made it a habit to pick up wickets in almost all playing conditions. He has managed to fill in the boots of Harbhajan Singh and has made a name for himself in both ODI and T20 cricket.
A rookie from Tamil Nadu, Ashwin was picked by his home franchise – Chennai Super Kings – in 2009, where he got to play in just two matches. The right-arm off-break spinner rose to fame in the 2010 IPL edition under MS Dhoni’s captaincy. Following the 2-years suspension for CSK, Ashwin was picked up by Rising Pune Supergiants at the 2016 IPL player draft.
In 2018, Ashwin was brought and named as captain by Kings XI Punjab, where he didn’t get much success. He played for Delhi Capitals in IPL 2020 but as the team can retain only three Indian capped players, Ashwin might be left out. Considering his stature as a player, Ashwin can be a decent choice for the 9th team’s captaincy position.
Manish Pandey will always be remembered as the first Indian player to score a century in the IPL – an unbeaten 114 off 73 deliveries to propel RCB into the knockouts of the 2009 IPL edition. A right-handed batsman who is adaptable across the top and middle orders in terms of batting, he has been a part of the national side over the years and has represented KKR and SRH.
Pandey donned the purple and golden jersey between 2014 and 2017, and in 2018, was released by the franchise as he struggled to show consistency. Considering his ability to absorb pressure, the Nainital-born was bought for INR 11 crore by SRH in 2018. However, he hasn’t been on his peak while playing for SRH and the franchise might release him ahead of the 2021 mega auction.
Manish Pandey’s international experience and his potential to drive the team to victory single-handedly makes him one of the prospects for the leadership of the 9th team.
Also known as Mr. IPL, Suresh Raina is arguably India’s finest T20 batsmen. Raina was an integral part of the CSK XI and has had a major contribution in the franchise’s success. The fact that Raina is still the second-highest run getter despite not playing the last season explains the magnanimity of the left-hander to his side.
Besides being an excellent batsman, Raina happens to be a reliable captain as well. Raina has led the Indian cricket team in the absence of a spinner and has also led Gujarat Lions in the 2016 and 2017 seasons of the IPL. The team were the table-toppers in 2016 and Raina was lauded for his brilliant leadership.
Raina opted out of IPL 2020 citing personal reasons and the Kings may part ways with him ahead of the 2021 auction. If the ninth IPL team chooses Raina as a skipper, he can make valuable contributions with both bat and his leadership skills.
Arguably New Zealand’s finest batsman since the legendary Martin Crowe, Kane Williamson is known as one of the most composed leaders in modern-day cricket. The right-hander is capable of opening as well as playing at number three or four, and can be a sheet anchor if needed. This makes Williamson one of the best batsmen of this era.
When it comes to captaincy, Williamson is a proven leader. He led SRH to the finals in 2018, and New Zealand also became runner-up in the 2019 World Cup under his leadership itself. He has been a part of the SRH set-up for a long time but considering the rules of retention, he might be released by the franchise. He can be an excellent addition if the ninth franchise gets him as a leader.
There’s no doubt that Aaron Finch is one of the greatest players in the history of T20 cricket. Australia’s ODI and T20I captain has been absolutely phenomenal in the shorter format of the game. In his 10-years long IPL career that spans over 87 matches, Finch has smashed 2005 runs at an average of 25.70 and strike rate of 127.70.
The Colac born has played for eight different franchises in the league, but has struggled to be a consistent performer. In the 13th edition of the IPL, Finch could only manage 268 runs at an average of 22 and strike rate of 111. Thus, there’s a great chance of Challengers releasing Finch ahead of IPL 2021.
Finch, though, continues to be a valuable player in the shortest format of the game, and can certainly add value as a captain to the 9th team.
In a career of incredible twists and turns, Steve Smith has gone on from being a leg spinner to becoming Australia’s best batsman since Sir Donald Bradman. When it comes to the cash-rich league, Steve Smith made an instant impression since his IPL debut season in 2012. In his IPL career that spans over 95 matches, Smith has scored 2333 runs at an average of 35.43 and strike rate of 129.25.
In the 13th edition of the IPL, Steve Smith was the highest earner in RR side with a salary of 12.5 crores. But his performance was far from best in IPL 2020 – he finished with just 311 runs in 14 games at an average of 25.91. Given Smith’s high salary RR is likely to release him in the auction pool. As such, the 9th will surely benefit from Smith’s experience if it manages to get him as a leader.