Generational change: With Dhoni gone, Iyer most experienced captain in IPL

IPL 2024

Dhoni led CSK in 212 matches.

The exit of MS Dhoni as the captain of Chennai Super Kings may well mark the end of an era in the Indian Premier League (IPL), as the final link from the league's inception to the present day has now ceased. Having captained in 226 matches, Dhoni could potentially be remembered as the longest-serving captain in IPL history. However, with today's developments, Shreyas Iyer emerges as the most experienced captain in the IPL 2024 season. This shift could be heralding a new era in the IPL, which was launched in 2008.

Iyer has led two teams, the Delhi Capitals and the Kolkata Knight Riders, and has captained in 55 matches. Starting his captaincy journey in 2018, he is the most experienced among the current crop of captains. Iyer's count would have been more if not for a back injury that sidelined him for the entirety of the last season. KL Rahul follows closely behind with 51 matches (from the 2020 season, representing Punjab Kings and LSG), while Sanju Samson of the Rajasthan Royals has captained in 45 matches since taking over leadership in 2021.

Rohit Sharma, who would have been the most experienced captain in the IPL this year with 158 matches, will no longer lead Mumbai Indians. Instead, Hardik Pandya has taken up the mantle, having led in only 31 games. Pandya's captaincy career began in the 2022 season when the IPL expanded, and the Gujarat Titans entered the league.

"The baton is being passed on, the new generation is well and truly taking over," said Venky Mysore, one of the old guards of the IPL, on the generational change. The Dhonis, the (Gautam) Gambhirs (129 for KKR and DC) and the (Virat) Kohlis (143 for RCB) have moved on. They are the captains who adapted to T20 cricket. The Iyers, the Sanjus, the Rahuls and the (Rishabh) Pants (30 for DC) have grown up with the format."

What Mysore has meant is that when the IPL started in 2008, Shreyas (30) was 14. Like many of his contemporaries, the new generation grew up with the format, unlike Dhoni, Gambhir and Kohli -- even Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman -- who all had to adapt to it. "They have grown up in the T20 ecosystem. The old generations were very good captains no doubt but some of them struggled too," Mysore, who took over as the CEO of Knight Riders in 2011, said and pointed out that Rohit Sharma has also adapted to the format well.

He sees a whole new approach to the IPL with new captains taking over. "I guess there will be a fresh approach, they have seen and played at all levels. The skill levels have changed, the game has dramatically changed and the league is also in good hands," he explained.

Mysore also pointed out the growth of the IPL as a brand and as a league. "The IPL also has grown. As a product it has dramatically changed for the better. As a league, cricket is of high quality. The gap between Indian and foreign players is not significant. For instance, if you see the WPL, the teams with good foreign players could end up doing well. The IPL is not like that. The men's game has gone to another level. The tournament has been terrific," he signed off.


55 - Shreyas Iyer (KKR) -- 2018-2022

51 - KL Rahul (LSG) -- 2020-2023

45 - Sanju Samson (RR) -- 2021-2023

31 - Hardik Pandya (MI) -- 2022-2023

30 - Rishabh Pant (DC) -- 2021-2022

27 - Faf du Plessis (RCB) -- 2022-2023

22 - Shikhar Dhawan (PBKS) -- 2014-2023

Pat Cummins (SRH), Ruturaj Gaikwad (CSK) and Shubman Gill (GT) will be captaining for the first time in the IPL