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Youngest Captains In History Of IPL

The IPL is a breeding ground for young talent, but captaincy opportunities for them are rare. The league prioritises experienced leaders, leaving youngsters to hone their skills under established figures.

This is a good opportunity. Young players benefit immensely by playing alongside seasoned campaigners and learning leadership qualities by observing decision-making under pressure. The IPL provides a platform to showcase their talent and earn the trust needed for future captaincy roles.

Firstly, young leaders bring a fearless approach. Unburdened by past defeats or conventional thinking, they're more willing to experiment with tactics and player combinations.

This can be crucial in the IPL's ever-evolving format. Secondly, they connect better with their young teammates. Often having played together in age-group cricket, they foster a strong team environment built on mutual understanding.

In this article, we have compiled a list of 5 young captains who captained a team in the IPL.

1) Virat Kohli – 22 Years 4 Months – Royal Challengers Bangalore

Virat Kohli's leadership is synonymous with the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the IPL. However, few remember that he holds the record for being their youngest captain ever.

At a mere 22 years and 187 days, Kohli donned the captain's hat in 2011, stepping in for the injured Daniel Vettori. Despite his young age, he led the team to a convincing victory, showcasing his leadership potential early on.

This marked the beginning of a long and passionate association between Kohli and RCB and his leadership which was present in 140 matches at a win percentage of 48.16%.

2) Steve Smith – 22 Years 11 months – Rising Pune Supergiants

Rising Pune Supergiants, a now-defunct IPL franchise, had a surprise captain in their 2017 season – Steve Smith. At just 22 years old, Smith became the youngest captain in the team's brief history.

This decision wasn't solely based on age. Smith was already a proven leader, captaining Australia in all formats. His impressive form with the bat for RPS further solidified the choice.

While Pune fell short of the IPL title that year, Smith's leadership was commendable. He led by example with his batting and fostered a positive team environment. Smith captained the team in 43 IPL matches with a win percentage of 59.52%.

3) Shreyas Iyer – 23 Years 3 Months – Delhi Capitals

Shreyas Iyer holds the distinction of being the youngest captain in Delhi Capitals' (formerly Delhi Daredevils) history. In 2018, at just 23 years old, he took the reins mid-season, replacing Gautam Gambhir.

His leadership debut was a baptism by fire, leading the team to victory against Kolkata Knight Riders with a match-winning knock. Iyer's captaincy stint proved impactful.

He instilled a youthful energy and a fearless approach, guiding Delhi Capitals to their first playoff appearance in seven years in 2019. As of now he is the skipper of KKR and has a win percentage of 53.65%.

4) Suresh Raina – 23 Years 3 Months – Chennai Super Kings

While MS Dhoni remains synonymous with Chennai Super Kings' leadership, Suresh Raina briefly held the captaincy reins during the IPL 2010.

He was handed over the responsibility of leading the team against Delhi Capitals for the first time and post that whenever Dhoni was absent from action, Raina came into the shoes of a leader.

Raina, known for his aggressive batting and energetic fielding, has captained 34 IPL matches with a winning rate of 44.11%.

5) Rishabh Pant – 23 Years 6 Months – Delhi Capitals

Rishabh Pant etched his name in Delhi Capitals (DC) history by becoming their youngest captain in the IPL.  He donned the leadership mantle in 2021 at the young age of 23 after regular skipper Shreyas Iyer's injury.

Pant's aggressive style and on-field presence resonated with the team's youthful core. His fearless batting and innovative captaincy decisions instilled a new energy in the DC lineup.

While the team fell short of the championship title that year, Pant's leadership potential was undeniable.

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