As the BCCI selectors named Ajinkya Rahane as the captain of Indian ODI squad for a short tour of Zimbabwe, the Mumbaikar became the 23rd captain of the India and fifth from Mumbai. The captaincy of Indian cricket is the most glamorous post for a cricketer. But, it was also the most troublesome post, particularly when team suffers a loss then the captain has to take the responsibility. Sachin Tendulkar ditched captaincy because he wanted concentrate on his batting. Meanwhile, over the years we have seen two vital cogs of the team batting for captaincy.
Since 1974 Indian ODI team got 23 ODI captains. India has produced a few great cricket brains. Some of the players played the role of stop-gap captain in the absence of main captain while other cricket brains were eclipsed by their captain.
Here is a look back at the previous captains of India:
#1 Ajit Wadekar
The Mumbaikar was the first captain of Indian ODI team. He played two matches as captain, and lost both of them.
#2 Srinivas Venkataraghavan
India got first bowling captain in form of Venkataraghavan. The offie from Madras led Indian team for four years, took over the rein from Ajit Wadekar. Under his captaincy India lost six matches and won only one.
#3 Bishan Bedi
He led Indian side for two years, lost three, managed to win only one. He lost his captaincy to Sunil Gavaskar.
#4 Sunil Gavaskar
The legendry Test batsman led India for 37 matches. Gavaskar is the first captain of India who had shown some leadership skill in ODI cricket, but his fights/politics with Board got him trouble. He led India to 14 wins and 21 losses. BCCI, though, was not happy with the results. They were looking for a leader who can led the team with authority.
#5 GR Viswanath
In the absence of Gavaskar, Viswanath led Indian team for just one match which he lost.
#6 Kapil Dev
The legendry all-rounder had more winning percentage than losing percentage. He has extremely good cricketing wisdom and prudence. For example in the 1983 World Cup, India was on the verge of early exit as Zimbabwe almost India 17 for 5. But, Kapil Dev’s blitzkrieg 175 not only saved India from the jaws of defeat but also helped India win the world cup final against mighty West Indies. He has an impressive winning percentage -54.16- as a captain. He won 39 matches and lost 33 matches.
Former Indian cricketer Kapil Dev addresses an audience during a function in Bangalore on June 3, 2008. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the UB Group announced their plans to honour the 1983 Cricket World Cup winners and commemorate the 25th anniversary of this cricketing milestone of India. AFP PHOTO/Dibyangshu SARKAR (Photo credit should read DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images)
#7 Sayed Kirmani
The wicketkeeper batsman played the role of stop gap captain. In the absence of Kapil Dev, he led the Indian team for one match and eventually lost it.
#8 Mohinder Amarnath
The allrounder was one of the stopgap captains of India. He also led Indian team for one match but finished on the wrong side of loss.
#9 Ravi Sashitri
He was one of the lesser successful captains of India. He belongs to that generation of cricketers who finished losing more matches than winning. The Mumbaikar led India for 11 matches, but lost 7 and won only 4.
#10 Dilip Vengsarkar
Vengsarkar became the fourth Indian captain from Mumbai when he was appointed to lead the team in the same year as Ravi Sashitri after latter’s got the sack. BCCI adopted two captain formulas. Vengsarkar led Indian team for two years in the year between 1987 and 1989 while Sashitri led India for two more years. Vengsarkar has 44.44 winning percentage. He captained India for 18 matches, won 8 and lost the remaining matches.
#11 Krishnamachari Srikkanth
He was one of the experiments of BCCI. Like others, he also failed to meet the expectations of BCCI. He led India for around one year, played thirteen matches as a captain. His captaincy was not very impressive, won only four matches and lost eight matches. His stint as captain with Indian ODI team was over within one year.
#12 Mohammad Azharuddin
India was looking for an acute captain like Kapil Dev. Almost one decade had been past, but BCCI did not find anybody who could lead the team from the front. Finally one of the great cricket brains had emerged in the scenario. Prolific run maker Mohammad Azharruddin led India for almost ten years. He could lead India for more years if he did not bring dark days in Indian cricket – match fixing. He as captain played 176 matches, won 90 and lost 76 matches, equalled Kavil Dev’s record of winning percentage – 54.16. However, he left Indian cricket in shambles.
May 1999: Portrait of Mohammad Azharuddin of India. \ Mandatory Credit: Stu Forster /Allsport
#13 Sachin Tendulkar
In cricket 13 is an unlucky number. May be (don’t believe it though) that is why Sachin failed to cope with the pressure of captaincy. With Indian cricket struggling to leave past the hangover of match fixing, BCCI gave the rein to most promising face of Indian cricket Sachin Tendulkar. But, captaincy caused nightmare to Sachin. He had almost decided to quit cricket as the burden of captaincy was too much for his shoulders. He lost his magical touch, batting failure made Sachin unhappy. His win loss ratio read as – 23 and 43 – which is poor by any standards.
#14 Ajay Jadeja
Ajay Jadeja was one of the great cricket brains India ever produced. He was never made a fully fledged captain of India. A stop gap captain held the responsibility for only thirteen matches. He had shown his wisdom on cricket as a captain. He had an enviable winning percentage of 61.53.
#15 Sourav Ganguly
As Sachin failed, BCCI had no other option but to hand over the captaincy to Sourav Ganguly. He at that time was the youngest cricketer who scored more than five thousand runs. He as the captain brought a precious thing to Indian cricket – raw aggression which was missing from the Indian cricket since the day they participated in international cricket. Ganguly led India in 146 match, his winning percentage was not better than Kapil and Azhar – 53.90. Although, his Test series win in foreign shore made him the greatest captain of the India.
PIETERMARITZBURG – FEBRUARY 23: Sourav Ganguly of India celebrates his century during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2003 Pool A match between India and Namibia held on February 23, 2003 at the Pietermaritzburg Oval, in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. India won the match by 181 runs. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
#16 Rahul Dravid
He was the vice captain of India when Sourav led the team. Later, under the tutelage of Greg Chappell Rahul Dravid became the captain of India and Sourav had to leave the team. Rahul enjoyed pretty impressive winning percentage – 56.00. But, he had to sustain the agony in 2007 World Cup as India was defeated by Bangladesh in the group match.
#17 Anil Kumble
The successful Test captain of India is another stop gap man for India. He led India in one match in 2002 and won it.
#18 Virendra Sehwag
The nonchalant opener was vice captain of India for quite few years. In the absence of Sourav in early days of his career he led India and later under Dhoni’s captaincy he played the role of vice captain. Over all he led India in 12 matches, won seven and lost five.
#19 MS Dhoni
He is arguably the best captain of India. “Captain cool” has won all ICC tournaments – T20 World Cup, 50 over’s World Cup, ICC Champions Trophy, India become number one in Test under his captaincy. The incumbent captain led India for 181 matches so far with a win in 101 matches, the best by any Indian captain. He now stands third to Ricky Ponting and Allan Boder. His captaincy came under scanner following India’s humiliating defeat to Bangladesh.
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 26: MS Dhoni of India leads out his team before the 2015 Cricket World Cup Semi Final match between Australia and India at Sydney Cricket Ground on March 26, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan-IDI/IDI via Getty Images)
#20 Suresh Raina
The left handed batsman was another stop gap captain for India. BCCI made him captain for two series in the year between 2010 and 2014. He led India for 12 matches; he won more than one he lost.
#21 Goutam Gambhir
His acute cricket brain we have seen during the IPL. He was eclipsed by Dhoni. However, he led India for six match and hold enviable winning percentage- 100.
#22 Virat Kohli
The Test captain of India is the future of Indian cricket. The vice captain of Indian ODI team led India for 17 matches in ODIs till now, with 14 wins and three losses. After Dhoni’s retirement he will be the captain of India, if his career does not get derailed.
Ajinkya Rahane is the 23rd captain and it remains to be seen how is career as a leader will pan out.