On the 13th anniversary of VIVO IPL, Chennai Super Kings captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his Mumbai Indians counterpart Rohit Sharma were declared joint Greatest of All Time (GOATs) captains of the VIVO IPL, whilst AB De Villiers emerged as the GOAT in the batsmen category and Lasith Malinga took away the title of the GOAT in the bowler’s category. Shane Watson, one of CSK’s vital cog in the wheel, won the battle among the GOAT all-rounders. The GOAT coach was tipped as Stephen Fleming of Chennai Super Kings.
The list was picked by Star Sports’ expert jury on Cricket Connected which airs every Saturday at 7 PM IST on the Star Sports Network.
Royal Challengers Bangalore and Team India captain Virat Kohli were voted the VIVO IPL’s greatest Indian batsman for being the highest scorer in the history of the tournament with 5412 runs in 177 matches at a staggering average of 37.84.
The jury was split right down the middle to make their pick on the greatest ever captain. While Dhoni shouldered the responsibility of taking the #YellowArmy to 10 playoffs out of the 11 seasons, Rohit proved to be the most successful captain pocketing 4 titles in 7 seasons for Mumba Indians. In the Coach category, the calm and composed Stephen Fleming (Chennai Super Kings) emerged the winner as he pipped Trevor Bayliss of KKR by a small margin.
‘Mr. 360 Degrees’ AB de Villiers, one of RCB’s batting mainstays, walked away with the recognition from among the batsmen. It was a tough choice as the shortlist comprised of players such as Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli, who are among the leading run-scorers. Chris Gayle, the biggest entertainer of the VIVO IPL, was also part of the list, but in the end, De Villiers won the battle due to his skill of negotiating any kind of bowling attack coupled with having the widest range of shots. The South African’s ability to turn the match from any position in the favour of his team, also earned him several brownie points.
Among the bowlers, Mumbai Indians’ pace machine Lasith Malinga, the leading wicket-taker of the VIVO IPL so far with 170 scalps in 122 matches, was the near-unanimous GOAT bowler due to his consistency over the years and his success at MI’s cauldron – the Wankhede Stadium – a venue notorious for high scores. Kolkata Knight Riders’ spinner Sunil Narine occupied the second position, while SRH pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar finished third, but was voted the Greatest Indian Bowler in the IPL.
Shane Watson, who fought valiantly for the Yellow Brigade in the 2019 VIVO IPL final with a bloodied knee, went past Dwayne Bravo and the powerful Andre Russell primarily due to his consistency. Even though the Australian does not bowl anymore, what went in his favour were his vital contributions to the side in the earlier years during his bowling days.