7 Left-Handers To Captain India In International Cricket

Team India, so far, has had 35 captains in Test matches, 26 in ODI’s and Eight skippers in T20I’s. However, overall combined, we have had only seven left-handers to captain Team India till now. 

1) Nari Contractor (1960 – 1962)

Captaincy Stats in Tests: Matches – 12 || Won – 2

At 26, Nari Contractor became Team India’s youngest captain in 1960. A left-handed opening batsman, the Gujarat cricketer was known for his mental toughness. One of his famous knocks includes the 81 he scored at the Lord’s despite a broken rib in 1959.

The first left-hander to captain Team India, Contractor’s career was cut short abruptly after he was struck on the skull by a short delivery from Charlie Griffith. His life was in danger, but due to timely medical support, he was able to pull through. However, he did not play a game after that.

2) Ajit Wadekar (1970 – 1974)

Captaincy Stats in Tests: Matches – 16 || Won – 4

Captaincy Stats in ODIs: Matches – 2 || Won – 0

One of the only three cricketers to have been a captain, coach and national selector of Team India, Ajit Wadekar was the first-ever ODI captain of the country. While it was only a two-match stint in ODI’s, he captained India in 16 Tests and led to the country’s maiden wins in England and West Indies.

Ajit Wadekar was also a fine batsman for the country. He scored 2113 runs in 37 Tests and was the left-hander to score over 2000 runs for India. His comfortable position in the batting order was at No.3, a position where he accumulated a total of 1899 runs.

3) Sourav Ganguly (1999 – 2006)

Captaincy Stats in Tests: Matches – 49 || Won – 21

Captaincy Stats in ODIs: Matches – 146|| Won – 76

When the senior members of the team had their names cropped up in the fixing issue in 2000, it was Sourav Ganguly who took over the reins of the Indian Team after Sachin Tendulkar stepped down. It was then that a new generation of the Indian Team was launched.

An aggressive individual, Dada was attacking in his tactics and helped the squad shred the conservative image. Under him, India started to win games win abroad. The World Cup final in 2003, and the Knock Out Trophy finals in 2000 were the main achievements of Ganguly as the captain. The current BCCI President was dropped from the role in 2006 after a run of poor form.

4) Gautam Gambhir (2010 – 2011)

Captaincy Stats in ODIs: Matches – 6|| Won – 6

Gautam Gambhir is one of the left-handers to captain India in International cricket. In 2010, due to MS Dhoni’s absence, Gambhir was appointed as the captain for the home series against New Zealand. India won that tournament 5-0, and Gambhir was the Player of the Series. The southpaw later captained one ODI against West Indies.

If not for the presence of a leader like MS Dhoni, Gambhir would have had more time in this role. Nevertheless, in IPL, he showed his skills as a captain with two trophies as the skipper of KKR in 2012 and 2014.

5) Suresh Raina (2010 – 2014)

Captaincy Stats in ODIs: Matches – 12|| Won – 6

Captaincy Stats in T20Is: Matches – 3|| Won – 3

Suresh Raina, at one point, was one of the senior members of the squad. Hence, he got to captain Team India on a couple of occasions. When India toured West Indies after the 2011 World Cup, with the senior members missing out, Raina was made the captain of the unit. He was again given the role for the Bangladesh Tour in 2014. This series is famously remembered for the match involving Stuart Binny’s bowling performance, which helped India defend a total of 105.

In IPL, too, Raina did not get many chances to lead a squad. For a guy who is experienced so much, barring a full-time stint as a captain of Gujarat Lions for two seasons, he has only captained in an irregular pattern in IPL.

6) Shikhar Dhawan (2021)

Captaincy Stats in ODIs: Matches – 3|| Won – 2

Captaincy Stats in T20Is: Matches – 3|| Won – 1

Shikhar Dhawan is the sixth left-hander to captain Team India. The southpaw from Delhi was the skipper of the squad for the Sri Lanka Tour in July 2021. Dhawan operated as the captain in both ODI and T20I games.

Having made his limited-overs debut in 2010, Dhawan has played over 140 ODI’s and 65 T20Is. Since the other senior members of the squad were in England, Dhawan was given the responsibility of leading the young team.

7) Rishabh Pant (2022)*

Rishabh Pant is the latest left-hander to lead Team India. For the five-match T20I series at home against South Africa, Pant was initially named as the vice-captain. However, after the nominated captain KL Rahul was ruled out due to an injury, Pant was asked to take over.

Although he failed to win the first two games, Pant led India to the victory in the next two matches. The selectors have identified him as part of the leadership group and he might lead more games in future.

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