Gautam Gambhir believes Chennai Super Kings (CSK) skipper MS Dhoni has been the No 1 captain in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021.
During a discussion on ESPNCricinfo, the former Kolkata Knight Riders captain compared the four skippers who have led their teams to the playoffs: Dhoni, Virat Kohli (Royal Challengers Bangalore, or RCB), Eoin Morgan (KKR) and Rishabh Pant (Delhi Capitals, or DC).
The IPL 2021 playoffs begin on Sunday with DC taking on CSK for a spot in the final.
Gambhir was not too impressed with Morgan, despite the fact that under him, KKR turned a new leaf and revived their once-floundering campaign in the UAE-leg.
“Morgan’s point of view, I’m not sure because he doesn’t captain, so it’s the video analyst that captains the side. He only just looks at the video analyst, so I don’t know whether he’s the captain on the field or [if the] captaincy is happening off the field,” Gambhir said.
Gambhir said he was pleased with the way Kohli had led his team. “Virat has been fabulous. Honestly, I have not enjoyed a lot of his captaincy, but this time around, he’s been very, very good. Probably the reason is because he thinks this is his last time as captain in IPL, [so] he wants to enjoy it more; he’s just more relaxed. And he’s got the bowlers this time,” Gambhir said.
Reflecting on Dhoni and Pant, whose teams play on Sunday, Gambhir gave the edge to the CSK skipper, as according to him Pant had the benefit of relying on the inputs of R Ashwin and Steve Smith, who have captained before.
“Purely from the captaincy point of view who can handle the pressure best, probably has to be Dhoni. Rishabh has the advantage from a point of view that he’s got a lot of experience in the playing XI. If Steve Smith plays, he’s got him alongside. He has got Ravichandran Ashwin who has captained earlier as well… so for me Dhoni is No 1 at the moment,” Gambhir said.