How good is Shreyas Iyer as a captain?

Image courtesy Twitter account of Shreyas Iyer
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While all the captains of the different teams in the IPL have their own stories of how they came to lead their teams, Shreyas Iyer’s story is one of the most noteworthy and interesting.

He is definitely talented and has experience captaining teams in the junior categories but he never had any experience leading a team full of players with years of international experience prior to 2018.

It could be said that he wasn’t the most obvious choice to lead Delhi Capitals. But was just at the right place at the right time.

However, after two years of leading a resurgent Delhi Capitals, it is a good time to analyze how he has done so far as a captain.

A little background

While all teams change their line-up every year to a certain degree, Delhi Capitals are known to chop and change so much that one might wonder if they are after an unknown prize in the IPL for the team with the most different line-ups each year.

As such, they haven’t had a lot of stability both in terms of the captaincy and the team composition.

This instability has been their Achilles heel throughout the history of the tournament.

However, it also put Iyer in a very unique position in 2018. Gautam

Gambhir had left Kolkata Knight Riders and returned to Delhi Capitals.

He had been one of the more successful captains in the IPL up until then but by 2018, he was on his last legs both as a captain and a batsman.

His shortcomings were further compounded by the fact that the rest of the team could not get going and they ended up being the worst team in that year’s IPL.

Hence Gambhir was axed and Iyer was handed over the reins probably because apart from Trent Boult, there was no one else in the team who could even be considered for the position. 

An Uncertain Initiation

Shreyas Iyer was one of the youngest members of the Delhi Capitals squad in 2018.

As such, he was not a locker room leader which meant that his teammates immediately did not rally around him from the beginning of his captaincy.

He was quite clearly being bullied around by the others when it came to bowling changes and field placement in the first few matches as a captain.

Many at this point assumed that he was just filling in for 2018 which was already a lost cause.

However, Delhi Capitals surprised everyone in the 2019 auctions by not going for one of the big names with the experience of leading a team.

They confirmed that they would continue with Shreyas Iyer as their captain and it was in 2019 that Iyer started to come into his own.

Leadership Capabilities

Iyer had been a great batsman throughout this ordeal.

In fact, he was the only bright spot in Delhi Capitals’ torrid 2018 campaign.

It had, however, often been seen that great batsmen would lose their edge when they were made captains.

Even the legendary Sachin Tendulkar had suffered from this.

As such, it was expected that Iyer would also wilt under the pressures of leading a team in 2019 especially since he was quite inexperienced.

Iyer, however, silenced all critics and doubters in his first season as the full-time first-choice captain. He not only helped Delhi Capitals become one of the most consistent teams in the IPL, but he was also able to keep himself competitive on the personal front as well.

Delhi Capitals made it to the playoffs for the first time since 2012 and they would eventually finish third in the championship.

Iyer would also feature on the list of top 10 batsmen as far as total runs were considered finishing just a single run behind Virat Kohli.  

Getting Better With Time

Shreyas Iyer has shown so far in the 2020 campaign that their 2019 season wasn’t a flash in the pan.

They may not have the most fancied team with big names but they have been able to mold themselves into a tight and cohesive team that just knows how to win.

They are one of the two teams considered as the hot favourites for this year’s IPL trophy and Iyer has been integral to that.

Generally, there are two types of captains.

The first are the ones with a really cool demeanour who rarely show emotions such as MS Dhoni and Kane Williamson.

Then there are the captains who are aggressive and emotive such as Virat Kohli.

Iyer falls into neither category. Instead, he has been able to find the perfect middle ground between these two types.

He leads from the front and is able to get his teammates to give their all.

He does not give a lot away with his body language but he is able to still ascertain his authority.

More importantly, he has been able to get a group of players who wouldn’t be considered top-tier players to prove to the world that as long as they have a fighting spirit, they can overcome any challenge.

However, he is not perfect and could still be a bit more decisive when it comes to bowling changes and field placements.

But he has been constantly improving and has been staking his own claim as not only one of the most dynamic captains in the IPL but also on the international level.