Leading a team in one of the biggest T20 tournaments in the world is no mean feat. But leading the team at a young age is an even bigger feat. In 2011, Virat Kohli became the youngest captain in the IPL at the age of 22 years, 4 months and 6 days. Check out the top five youngest captains in IPL history.
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Virat Kohli – 22 years, 4 months and 6 days
In 2011, RCB skipper Daniel Vettori suffered an injury, which paved the way for Kohli to become the skipper. Kohli, at the age of 22 years and 4 months, led RCB to a nine-wicket win in his first assignment as skipper and overall led the team in three matches that year until Vettori returned.
Kohli became the permanent captain of RCB in 2013, and served in the position until 2021. He captained RCB in 140 matches, winning 64 and having a win percentage of 48.16. Kohli led RCB to the final in 2016, and to the playoffs in 2015, 2020, 2021 and 2022.
Steve Smith – 22 years, 11 months and 9 days
Australia’s Steve Smith, in 2013, became the youngest foreign captain in the IPL. Smith’s IPL journey began in 2010 when he joined RCB as a replacement for Jesse Ryder, and then he spent the next two seasons with Kochi Tuskers Kerala. But it was not until 2013 when he became a permanent in the playing XI. In 2013, Smith was bought by Pune Warriors at the auction. He went on to captain the team that same season, after regular skipper Sourav Ganguly benched himself. At that time, Smith’s age was 22 years, 11 months and 9 days. He led the team in only one game that season, before becoming the full-time captain of Rising Pune Supergiant in 2017, whom he led to the final. Smith also captained Rajasthan Royals. Overall, the batsman led in 43 IPL matches and has a 59.52% win percentage.
Shreyas Iyer – 23 years, 3 months and 21 days
In 2018, Delhi Capitals named a 23-year-old Shreyas Iyer as their skipper after Gautam Gambhir stepped down from the role midway through the season. Iyer was at the helm of the team until 2021, when he suffered an injury and was ruled out of the entire season and subsequently lost his captaincy to Rishabh Pant.
In 2019, Iyer led Delhi to the playoffs for the first time in seven years, and in 2020, he led the team to their first-ever IPL final. In 2022, Iyer led the Kolkata Knight Riders in 14 matches, including six wins and eight losses. In all, as a captain he has won 27 off 55 matches and has a win percentage of 53.65.
Suresh Raina – 23 years, 3 months and 22 days
In 2010, Suresh Raina, aged 23 years, 3 months and 22 days, was named CSK’s standby captain after MS Dhoni was unavailable for a few games. That season, Raina led CSK in six matches, winning four and losing two.
In 2017, when CSK was not a part of the IPL, Raina captained the Gujarat Lions, and led them to the playoffs. Overall, Raina was the captain in 34 IPL matches and boasted of a winning percentage of 44.11%.
Rishabh Pant – 23 years, a half year and 6 days
An injury ruled out Shreyas Iyer of IPL 2021, which was when Rishabh Pant was named the team’ captain. At the time, the wicketkeeper batsman was 23 years, 6 months and 6 days old. Under Pant’s captaincy, Delhi made it to the playoffs before losing in the eliminator match. Pant has overall captained in 30 IPL games, winning 16.
The batsman is not playing IPL 2023 due to a car accident he met with earlier this year. In Pant’s absence, David Warner is leading the Delhi Capitals.